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Deep-Dive Workshops – Healthier Agriculture & SoilScore


Deep-Dive Workshops – Healthier Agriculture & SoilScore

Defined Focus & Topic Areas:

During the first H-HEALTH community workshop on February 4th 2022, the participating community defined topic areas that would be of interest and to further explore as part of a deep-dive workshop. Together we defined the following three topic areas:

1. Human well-being:

  • Nutrition and health

  • Human gut-microbiome

  • Medicinal properties of plants and natural compounds

2. Smart & digital applications:

  • Precision and smart agriculture

  • AI and Big Data applications

  • Supply chain

  • Future of crop protection.

3. Regenerative food production:

  • Climate adaptation and carbon sequestration

  • Plant resilience

  • Soil health

  • Soil microbiome and plant interaction


Why Deep-Dive Workshops?

Deep-dive workshops distinguish themselves from the regular community workshop through the thematic or idea centric focus. Due to the wide thematic range of H-HEALTH, the workshop plays out in a smaller, more intimate setting amongst interdisciplinary experts. The idea is either to create new ideas or to further explore a certain topic area, to define where we can have impact together. The goals of the workshop are to strengthen the community, encourage innovative ideas and forge new collaborations amongst the diverse stakeholders that are participating. Ultimately workshops aim to address and find solutions for the most pressing societal challenges at hand.


design thinking workshop outcome

The Workshops in 2022

In 2022, two such workshops took place regarding the broader concept of

regenerative food production and an idea in the area of human well-being.


For both topics the Innovation Office organized a design thinking workshop to accelerate and optimally support the collaborative exchange. For the topic "healthier agriculture", the aim was to identify a common vision and problem statement, to take as a basis for the discussion on how we can go forward in next steps as a community.




Outcome workshop healthier agriculture:

“How can we increase the use of bio-based or microbiome solutions as well a support more private-public collaborations, to achieve less dependencies for farmers while maintaining sustainable yields and health outcomes while considering the current use of chemical inputs, the increasing climate extremes and resource availability?”


With this problem statement and focus question, we gathered during the workshop to discuss current hurdles and our common vision to achieve a change in the current food production system. The vision for a healthier agriculture involves different topic areas and stakeholder groups that need to be involved and are at the center of finding the right solutions for healthier, more resilient and sustainable agriculture.


In an attempt to organize our vision as a group five focus solution areas were identified, that play a key role to develop and innovate for a better future. These solution areas further need to be better understood, explored and connected to each other. Research and implementation ideas within these areas should be supported and encouraged.

Together we discovered that a better understanding of the system’s complexity needs to build up to identify more ideas and innovation in the field of agriculture, food and health. To do so, the involved stakeholder group needs to be expanded and more knowledge exchange opportunities need to be created. Within that knowledge exchange, an in depth insight into individual’s efforts and engagement with the societal challenges would be preferred.


Outcome workshop SoilScore:

The SoilScore Deep-Dive took place in the context of the idea, to include soil health parameters in a new food-label that could help consumers to identify how the production of a specific food item is impacting soil health. This would mean that a customer in a supermarket could identify very quickly which foods are beneficial for soil health and would therefore have the option to make a more informed choice. With many food labels already existing (e.g. Nutri-Score, Eaternity, M-Check, Bio etc.), first an overview of existing labels was needed to understand the needs and gaps for a new food label in the first place. It is not easy to have an overview of the label landscape and also gain insights into the used parameters for each label.


With the Nutri-Score as a role model, the participants were gaining a fundamental insight on how a food label is established and the process behind it. Representatives of the Allianz Ernährung und Gesundheit highlighted these aspects in a presentation and therein showcased the impact of food labels on consumer behavior as well as supported the identification of the current gaps in the label landscape.



Together the participants identified that there is not a particular need to establish a new label from scratch, only adding to the complexity of the current “label salad”, but rather the need to include soil-health parameters to already existing labels. It’s also reasonable to do more research on already existing labels on a national, European and International level to identify which label we could contact as advocates for soil health. Collaboration with a specific label is also imaginable. To identify the crucial and measurable parameters on soil health, more expert involvement is needed.


Next steps:

Identified topics and thematic focus areas will certainly be taken up in more workshops and events. To encourage more knowledge exchange, a series of community events are planned in Fall 2022. An overview of the upcoming events is available on the Pupella Event page.

If you are a student and have an interest to explore the food labeling landscape and support the community in their effort to advocate for soil health on a voluntary basis, as part of a student project or a thesis at the University of Basel, please feel free to contact us for an inquiry. We are happy to look at the options and connect according to your interests. Reach us via e-mail: sophie.schumacher@unibas.ch or alessandro.mazzetti@unibas.ch

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