Assembly of European Horticultural Regions

EU projects

NOVASOIL and the development of marginal areas

Learn more on the the case study “a model for multifunctional and sustainable development of marginal areas”

AREFLH is a partner of the NOVASOIL project (Innovative Business models for soil health). Its general objective is to highlight the benefits of investments in soil health for society and the environment.


The case study was based on an integrated supply chain project funded under the EU’s rural development policy, which involved research centres, private companies, farmers and public administrations. It promoted sustainable rural development through new cropping systems and management innovations.  


Firstly let us define marginal areas : they are lands with little or no agricultural or industrial value.


The inland and hilly areas of the region of Tuscany are marginal areas characterised by the conventional extensive agriculture mainly based on cereals and of low agricultural value. Soil erosion, nutrient leaching and soil carbon depletion are undoubtedly the main critical issues in these areas. The key concept of the project was to transform the existing agricultural systems of the inland and hilly areas of Tuscany, mainly based on annual cereal crops, by introducing perennial medicinal and aromatic plants (such as lavender) and by converting from conventional to organic farming models. 


The combination of an innovative agro-ecological cropping system and the adaption of conservative agricultural practices reduces the impact of tillage on soil erosion and nutrient loss, contributes to improving soil structure and increasing soil organic matter, thus maximising soil fertilit  and health, productivity, resilience and landscape enhancement. At the same time, the project has made it possible to develop new supply chains with high added value of final products, supporting the territorial multifunctional development of the hilly area.  


From this case study NOVASOIL  will study the effectiveness of the actions taken in terms of improving soil fertility and health, increasing productivity, resilience and landscape enhancement.  


Potential inhibitors:  
  • Local, organic certified organic and fully traceable final products
  • Social awareness interested in high quality and healthy product
  • Existing farmer network
  • Higher revenue for farmers compared to previous cropping systems 


Potential enablers:  
  • Tuscany Region – Regional administration
  • Private companies
  • Farmers
  • Farmer association
  • Accademia dei Georgofili
  • Non-profit association (Chimica verde Bionet)
  • CREA-ABP (Consiglio per la ricerca in agricoltura e l’analisi dell’economia agraria-centro di agrobiolgia e pedological


For more information click here 


Know more about Novasoil


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement n°101091268


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