YouTuber Charles Dowding endorses the Soil Mission with PREPSOIL video

· 2 min read
YouTuber Charles Dowding endorses the Soil Mission with PREPSOIL video

The Living Labs could be like seeds from where knowledge and ideas will spread out.


This is how Charles Dowding elegantly describes the aim of 100 Living Labs and Lighthouses across Europe.  Charles is no newcomer to soil health and as a gardener, writer and YouTuber he has become a world-wide advocate in promoting no-dig gardening to his 670.000 followers on Youtube. Charles been making videos for YouTube from his garden in South Somerset, UK since 2013 to teach  people how to grow food with the no-dig method. Being no stranger to video making, Charles conducted an interview with Dr. Adam O’Tool, Research Agronomist from SoilCQuest in Australia, about soil health and the aim of the PREPSOIL project to create awareness and knowledge on soil needs among stakeholders across Europe.


During the interview Adam outlines a shift in the approach adopted to soil health improvement, outlining that the strategy has hitherto been reliant on top scientists with ample funding to find solutions. Despite these efforts, Adam reflects, soil quality hasn't improved significantly. Therefore a new initiative proposes the establishment of 100 "Living Labs" across Europe, with farmers playing a significant role along with other citizens, industry, scientists, and government.
This will of course help bring the farming and science community closer to common solutions
and in the video both Charles, whose son is a farmer, and Adam address the issues involved in reaching a common understanding of the problems and solutions affecting soil health.
The idea of PREPSOIL is to foster collaboration between farmers, scientists and other actors depending on or working with soil health. Scientists can contribute their analytical and methodological skills to assist farmers in problem-solving. This collaborative approach aims to bridge the gap between scientific expertise and on-the-ground agricultural knowledge, ultimately leading to more relevant and impactful solutions for farming challenges.
Healthy soil crucial for successful farming.

During the second half of the video, Charles’s son, Jack, shows his organic farm in Somerset where several methods to maintain and improve the health of soil are implemented, always with the importance of proper soil management in mind. He discusses different farming methods such as direct drilling and ploughing, highlighting the challenges and considerations involved in each approach.

For Jack Dowding some of the limitations of direct drilling are certain soil conditions, weather circumstances, and the financial risks associated with investing in specialized equipment.
But in the end, he sees healthy soil as crucial for successful farming and sustainability as in the best interest of the farmers. And this is why he - in his own words - is

“always trying to add something back to the soil”.


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Ida Brems Sørensen, Communication Consultant, Aarhus University

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