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NUTRISOIL: Proof-of-Concept funded through URBAG project, January 2024-June 2025

12 September 2023

Healthy Soil for Urban Agriculture through Nutrient and Carbon Circularity (NUTRISOIL ERC-2023-POC, 101138151)

What is hindering nutrient circularity in urban argiculture?

The variability and quality of compost, struvite, and other forms of biobased fertilizers are key issues, as are distances, lack of co-location of urban nutrients with cropland, and institutional barriers. However, there is a more fundamental underlying problem that has not been addressed by waste managers or city planners:

The impoverished state and quality of the urban and peri-urban agricultural soil undermines nutrient circularity. Nutrient recovery is of no use unless soil is healthy!!

The solution: Urban residues such as pruning biomass waste from urban parks and forests, as well as agriculture, are rich in decomposable organic carbon and can be used to enhance soil microbiota function, counteract acidification and carbonate accumulation (especially in Mediterranean areas), and overall improve soil quality and nutrient cycling efficiency.


NUTRISOIL has two objectives:

Technical objective: to test various soil regeneration and fertilizing techniques based on applying recovered organic matter from pruning residues jointly with recovered nutrients from compost and wastewater treatment. Here project activities will focus on experiments on urban agricultural fields, performing analytical measurements and environmental assessments.

Social objective: aiming to engage stakeholders both at the practitioner and policy-maker level through two workshops, to create knowledge exchange amongst farmers, composting facilities, wastewater treatment, administration, policy makers of waste regulations, commercialization of local crops, bio-based fertilizer regulations, and the various governing and coordinating associations implicated in the entire cycle of nutrients in the city: from waste to food.


                  Degraded soil                                    Regenerated soil



Two stakeholder workshops, please sign up to participate! 

Workshop 1: OCTOBER 2024 (date to be announced spring 2024). This will be a local stakeholder process hosted by the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona, which will facilitate dialogue between urban farmers waste managers, and representatives of the 36 municipalities of the AMB, including community organizations, environmental groups, academia, and the business community. Simultaneous translation will be available for English and Spanish. Please sign up here and we will send you more information!

Workshop 2: FEBRUARY 2025 (date to be announced fall 2024). This will be an EU-wide workshop hosted by the Resilient Cities to disseminate the approach and findings from the case study to other municipalities. The aim is to engage cities across Europe to (a) visit the experimental sites of (b) to discuss the scientific development and approach of NUTRISOIL, (c) to establish comparisons with existing approaches in those cities,  and (d) to identify ways to transferring components of the NUTRISOIL approach to their respective cities, both technology transfer as well as enabling policy and governance conditions. Funding available to travel and participate. Please sign up here and we will send you more information!



  • to comply with the Revised Waste Framework Directive, which obligates all EU Member States to selectively separate all biowaste from municipal solid waste for recycling and recovery of nutrients through compost or digestate by the end of 2023.
  • NUTRISOIL will facilitate nutrient circularity through urban agricultural soil regeneration
  • More local food production resulting from increased UA will also prevent food losses associated with inefficiencies in conventional food supply logistics
  • To meet objectives of the European Green Deal to assess the critical stages involved in the circularity of bio-waste and the replacement of traditional food systems elements with urban agricultural practices (From Farm to Fork).
  • Milan Urban Food Policy Pact aim to developing sustainable food systems and reduce food waste.
  • Compliance with other regional and global policies such as The Common agricultural Policy 2023-2027 and Sustainable Development Target 12.3 Food Loss & Waste and Target 12.5 Waste Reduction which call for changes in agriculture and food systems by promoting the circularity of nutrients and promoting urban agriculture.