Soils: Where food begins


About 95% of the food is directly or indirectly produced on our soils, which have a natural capacity to support plants by providing them with nutrients through the soil solution. Healthy soils are crucial to our basic survival as well as our planet’s sustainable future.

The Global Symposium on Soils for Nutrition (26 – 29 July 2022) will review the status and challenges of soil fertility in regard to crop, animal and human nutrition.

On the occasion of the Symposium, you are welcome to browse a selection of FAO publications that showcase the Organization’s work on fighting soil erosion, increasing soil awareness and proactively improving soil health.

Just released: Soils for nutrition: state of the art

This booklet offers a review of literature and practices that can provide a more nutritious agrifood system for enhancing human health and wellbeing while protecting the environment. These include integrated soil fertility management, soil microorganisms, and sensor technology.  

The International Code of Conduct for the sustainable use and management of fertilizers

This document is an important tool for implementing the Voluntary Guidelines for sustainable soil management with special regard to nutrient imbalances and soil pollution. It addresses the judicious use and management of fertilizers to prevent misuse, underuse and overuse.

Global assessment of soil pollution
World soil health is under pressure from 10 main soil threats, including erosion, loss of soil organic carbon and biodiversity, pollution, and salinization. This report presents the status and drivers of global soil pollution, as well as recommendations to address the issue such as using bioremediation technologies.

Further reading


  • A review of the impacts of crop production on the soil microbiome 

Additional resources