Even the Soil Microbes Dance in Portugal

GROW Place Portugal gathering to install soil sensors November 2018

Compost building, guidended meditations, regenerative poetry, dancing microbes, seminars and shared food — why its GROWPlace Portugal’s world soil day event!

GROW Places

GROW Places are 9 locations in Europe taking a high concentration of soil moisture sensors. The aggregated data will help ground truth European Space Agency satellite data which, in turn, helps with more accurate environmental monitoring in the context of a changing climate.

This means better meteorological predictions and climate models. These predictions and models are extremely important for crop and environmental management and civil protection against extreme weather events, like droughts and related fires.

Our GROWPlace Portugal partners were in fact involved in the initiation of World Soil Day!

GROW Place Portugal

In Portugal, there are two areas in the GROWPlace, one in the Herdade da Ribeira (research station managed by ce3c-Fcul), near Grandola in Alentejo, and also in the regenerative project of the Vale da Lama, near Lagos in the Algarve, including the inspiring Quinta do Vale da Lama.

Quinta do Vale da Lama has deployed a grid of soil sensors around the farm to monitor soil moisture retention, joining with other land managers all around Europe that are taking action as a response to a changing climate.

Both projects have already installed several hundred sensors that allow soil monitoring, with November and December events in the Vale da Lama featuring local participants interested in monitoring their soils as well as starting a collective path to Regeneration of its soils and ecosystems.

He made it! Previously, we reported on how our intrepid soil scientist Endre Dobos was ‘travelling’ from Hungary to Austria to Portugal via a really interesting hole. We are happy to report that he has come out the other side: here he is digging another soil profile, this time in Portugal.

According to Walt Ludwick of Quinta do Vale da Lama, at the 15th December gathering to install soil sensors, “now that we’re enjoying some more dynamic weather conditions, we’re seeing some interesting patterns emerge in the data, as we’re tracking Soil Moisture, Temperature, Light Intensity and Fertility over time at 15 minute intervals -which has become something of a BigData analysis challenge.”

You can read our interview with Walt Ludwick from the Algarve GROW Place in our previous article on a GROWPlace event in Austria:

World Soil Day Portugal — from life sized microbes to regenerative poetry

For World Soil Day, a full 14 hours of activities were held in GROW Place Portugal, involving more than 300 participants who took from this day an array of inspirations for soil regeneration.

Several activities were organised during the day, ranging from soil education to ca. fifty 7-years old children, to a shared communal lunch with faculty students and researchers and after-lunch seminars about soil health and pollution, with a focus on agrochemicals and biofertilizers and their use and impact in both Portugal and Brazil.

Children at World Soil Day event portugal meet microbes and compost

Participants were discover more about the GROW Observatory and how the sensors are being used to generate and share data in different sites in Portugal (Vale da Lama and Herdade da Ribeira Abaixo).

The day included practical activities for soil regeneration, such as starting a compost heap, mulching the soil with almost a ton of brown material (dry leaves) and planting different plants to build soil structure.

In the evening, a guided meditation session took participants to a forest where they could connect with Soil and Trees.

Then started a regenerative celebration with DJs, local and organic food and drinks — it even included regenerative poetry to music….see below…

oh yes! And those dancing soil microbes? Here they are…..

On December 5, 2018, GROW joined the global celebration for World Soil Day with events on the ground in our communities, webinars, and a social media campaign to promote the message to stop soil pollution.

World Soil Day (WSD) is a global awareness raising platform held annually on 5 December as a means to focus attention on the importance of healthy soil and advocating for the sustainable management of soil resources.