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Protecting the Soil: the Great Challenge of Agriculture

21 Sep 2021
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Online, Talks

This is the first session of the cycle Towards a Fair and Sustainable Food Model for Europe, where an attempt will be made to get to know and understand the workings of the universe that lies beneath our feet: how it is being affected by industrial agriculture and how we are still in time to regenerate the soil so that it is once again a living space that is able to sustain life.

Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

Few people have stopped to think about the enormous biodiversity that lies in the soil and how it is directly involved in the environmental services the soil renders us. The soil is the great ‘forgotten one’ when we talk about the environmental crisis; and yet, it is vital for the feeding of humanity. But not only that; the soil is an immense carbon warehouse, and our ally in the fight against climate change.

Industrial agriculture is degrading our soils, contributing to desertification and putting food safety in serious jeopardy. Regenerative agriculture seeks to favour the natural cycles of crops and harvests and help the soil recover.


  • Pilar Andrés is a biologist and a doctor in soil ecology. She is a researcher at the Centro de Investigación Ecológica y Aplicaciones Forestales [Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications] (CREAF). For thirty years she has worked in diagnosis and restoration of soils degraded by human action. She has participated in the EU’s Atlas of Soil Biodiversity (2016) and the FAO report on the status of soil biodiversity at world level (2020).
  • Ray Archuleta is a soil, water quality and regenerative agriculture specialist. For thirty years he worked for the US Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Following his retirement from the NRCS in 2017 he continues to share his experience in soil restoration and offers practical capacitation in ecosystemic soil functions. In 2020 he took part in the Netflix documentary Kiss the Ground.
  • Andrzej Nowakowski is an advisor in Agriculture and Rural Development for the European Green Party, and is currently involved in the completion of the 2021 CAP Reform at the European Parliament. For twenty years he has worked in sustainable agricultural policies and the implementation of agricultural models that protect biodiversity. He is a volunteer on the ARC2020 and PAN EU consultative councils.
  • Andrés Gómez is a technical agricultural engineer specialising in agroecology. He is certified as a Holistic Management Educator by the Savory Institute and a member of the aleJAB management board. He is part of Granja Zael, a young project devoted to regenerative animal husbandry and 100% grass-fed beef production in Zael (Burgos).

Moderator: Dolores Raigón, doctor in agronomic engineering, professor of Edaphology and Agricultural Chemistry, professor at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingeniería Agronómica y del Medio Natural [Higher Technical School of Agronomic Engineering and the Natural Environment] (ETSIAMN) and vice president of the Sociedad Española de Agricultura Ecológica y Agroecología [Spanish Society of Ecological Agriculture and Agroecology] (SEAE).

Coordinators: the Green European Foundation (GEF), in collaboration with the Fundación Transición Verde [Green Transition Foundation], La Casa Encendida and the Sociedad Española de Agricultura Ecológica y Agroecología [Spanish Society of Ecological Agriculture and Agroecology] (SEAE).

The event will take place in the Zoom room. Following registration, and before each session, attendees will be sent an email with details regarding access to the meeting.

*Simultaneous Spanish-English interpretation will be available during the session.

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Protecting the Soil: the Great Challenge of Agriculture

21 Sep 15:30 - 17 h