SOIL NEXUS, 2020-2022

The SOIL NEXUS project emerged from our previous work agroecological food growing as part of ‘Urbanising in Place’, and brought together partners and learning from this and a parallel research project. The impetus for this project was the recognition that global urbanisation is leading to the destruction of living soils, with direct impacts on climate change, biodiversity loss, food insecurity, and human health, and although urban land use policies are beginning to address soil protection, they rarely address the remediation of urban soils.  

At the same time, there are many grassroots initiatives in urban areas currently experimenting with integrated and holistic practices of soil care, e.g. sourcing urban organic waste streams (food waste, leaves, grass clippings, waste from breweries, etc.) for top soil regeneration or using nature-based approaches (e.g. bioremediation) to detoxify top soils. These practices urgently need supportive policy frameworks to enable them to become more common and complement related policies around climate action, green-blue infrastructure and food.

Image credit: Malini Basu

The SOIL-NEXUS project aims to address the gap between practice and policy in the use of urban wastes for the remediation of urban soils. To do this, alongside partners from Argentina, Spain, the US, South Africa, Argentina, Belgium and the UK, we have organised a series of online discussion events to explore grassroots approaches to urban soil remediation and community engagement with these processes, and learn about existing public policies for the protection and restoration of urban soils, before workshopping our own policy brief. 

Aims of the project include:

  • Providing evidence of quality assessment for the agroecological remediation of urban damaged soils
  • Raising global awareness around soil care and stewardship
  • Gathering an overview of existing best practices in soil remediation aligned to agroecological principles
  • Providing guidance for public policy

Over the coming months we will be sharing a policy brief and video clips from the webinars to highlight some of the key discussion points and moments of learning from this collaboration.

The project is funded by Future Earth, a global network of scientists, researchers and innovators collaborating for a more sustainable planet.

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