Farmers Friday | Research Festival: Healthy Landscapes

Reducing impact and improving productivity of soils

Our soil is in crisis. A third of the planet’s land is severely degraded, and fertile soil is being lost at the rate of 24 billion tonnes a year. With the increasing population and our need for productive land the situation is becoming a critical and growing global problem – we need to act now to ensure the future sustainability of this precious resource.

This day-long event showcases how University of Plymouth researchers and academics are working with global industry partners to change policy and develop real-world solutions to protect soils. 

The morning session focuses on the importance of soils and why they need the protecting, with optional tours of the University’s internationally renowned analytical research capability. The afternoon session explores how we can protect the future of soils in both policy and practice.

Morning session: Unearthing the importance of soil

10:00 – Welcome to the event and introduction to the Sustainable Earth Institute – Professor Iain Stewart and Professor Jerry Roberts

10:15 – The value of conducting research in soil: some examples from SEFARI – Professor Lorna Dawson, Hutton Institute

10:30 – Growing a soils code of practice – Nick Willenbrock, CL:AIRE

10:45 – Soils from scratch – Eden Project Manufactured Soil – Dr Rachel Warmington, Eden Project

11:00 – Future importance of soils in agriculture – Dr Robin Jackson, Project Director of Agri-Tech Cornwall

11.15 – University research project highlights

• FAB Soil – Dr Mark Fitzsimons

• Soil erosion and the Energy-Food-Water-Environment Nexus – Professor Will Blake

• Plastics in soils – Florence Parker-Jurd and Maya Al-Sid-Cheikh

• Methods of measuring carbon in soils – Dr Tim Daley

12:15 – Panel discussion with Q&A

12:40 – Lunch and tours of the University of Plymouth internationally-renowned analytical research facilities (booking essential)

Afternoon session: Policymaking and the future of soils in the UK

13:40 – Welcome back

13:45 – University research project highlights

• Research into antimicrobial resistance and soils – Professor Mat Upton

• Pharmaceuticals in soils – Dr Sean Comber

• Future for manufactured soils – Dr Jenny Rhymes

14:30 – Healthy soils and composts in sustainable agriculture – Guy Watson, Riverford Farm

14:45 – Soils and the policy agenda – Ellen Fay, Sustainable Soils Alliance

15:00 – Lessons learned from managing organic soils  – Jerry Alford, Soil Association

15:15 – Dealing with problems in practice – Richard Smith,  Environment Agency

15:30 – Farming and the soil environment  – Paul Cottington, SW National Farmers Union

15:45 – Panel discussion with Q&A

16:15 – Close and networking

Who is this event for?

This event will be of most interest to anyone whose work or study interacts with soils. This could include; the agricultural technology sector; environmental consultancy, construction, ecology, waste management, and horticulture. It may also interest researchers in the fields of health, medicine and psychology, and those interested in public health and the life cycle of antibiotics. The event is open to everyone including staff and students. Spaces are limited so booking is essential.

FULL INFORMATION AND BOOKING: https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/whats-on/research-festival-healthy-landscapes

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