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Grants for Soil-friendly Practices in Horticulture

Apply before: September 20, 2023

Grants for Soil-Friendly Practices in Horticulture is now accepting an application. In this topic, the multi-actor approach has to be implemented by involving a wide range of stakeholders (e.g. industry including SMEs, public authorities, research centers, public and private investors, and civil society) to co-create sustainable solutions and increase opportunities for them to be scaled up. The topic should involve the effective contribution of SSH disciplines.


Eligible countries: described in Annex B of the Work Programme General Annexes

A number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon Europe projects. See the information in the Horizon Europe Programme Guide.

Other eligibility conditions: described inAnnex B of the Work Programme General Annexes

The following additional eligibility criteria apply: Proposals must apply the multi-actor approach. See the definition of the multi-actor approach in the introduction to this Mission.

Proposed activities should:

  • Identify, develop and promote horticultural practices and production systems that conserve or improve soil health. This should include alternative materials to be used as sustainable substitutes for peat as substrate or soil improver in organic and conventional horticulture, with the aim of attenuating soil stress and strengthening ecosystem services.
  • Demonstrate the feasibility and economic viability of the newly developed alternatives to the use of peat in horticulture. This should be done in accordance with relevant EU regulatory frameworks related to their placing on the market.
  • Generate data to support improved environmental, social, health and safety performance of alternative growing media in a life-cycle perspective and taking into account potential trade-offs and indirect consequences, including outside of the EU, where relevant.
  • Develop and improve sustainable management practices in horticulture (including digital technologies and infrastructures) to reduce the use of inputs such as plant protection products, fertilizers, and water in horticultural crops. Measures should also contribute to improving soil structure and mitigating soil compaction. Where applicable, practices should cover both protected (greenhouses and tunnels) and open field systems.
  • Identify and analyse barriers (economic, social, or regulatory) that may hinder the uptake of the proposed soil-friendly practices by professional producers as well as by private consumers in amateur horticulture, and where relevant suggest suitable measures to overcome the identified obstacles.
  • Develop and test material for awareness raising, dissemination, and training to promote the uptake of soil-friendly horticultural practices. This material should be used by agricultural advisory services, in vocational training, and in other relevant contexts.

How to Receive EU Funding for Your Innovation


Practices in horticulture can affect soil health and related ecosystem services at different points in the value chain, for example at production sites as well as further upstream. Within horticultural production systems, soils are often subjected to particularly intensive use, which can cause among others soil compaction, soil pollution (e.g. excess nutrients, pesticides, or microplastics), and salinization as a consequence of intensive irrigation. Peat is commonly used in nurseries, greenhouses, and amateur horticulture as a growing medium and for soil improvement, as it has an excellent water retention capacity, is highly fertile due to the reduced leaching of nutrients, and can improve the soil buffering capacity. The extraction of natural peat, however, is highly contentious as the disturbance of peatlands leads to habitat loss, soil degradation, CO2 emissions, and increased flood risks. Therefore, sustainable alternatives to natural peat are required. While various peat-free or peat-reduced growing media have become more widely available in recent years, their performance with regard to environmental and other relevant criteria remains difficult to assess.

Application Process

Click here to apply

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Theme : Plants
Applicant Country : Horizon Europe
For more information : European Commission

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