World Soil Day, 5 December

Children's book contest on soils for nutrition

In the framework of World Soil Day (WSD) 2022, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) and the Global Soil Partnership (GSP) are launching a scientific children's book contest on soils for nutrition with the motto "Soils: Where food begins".

By inviting soil scientists, research institutions, colleges/universities, designers, artists, and creative people from all countries to team up, the contest intends to raise awareness and inform future global citizens about soil issues. The purpose of this competition is to engage and encourage children's interest in soil and give them the opportunity to understand the impact of soil nutrient imbalance and loss of soil fertility while stimulating educational activities, engagement and participation of children and schools in soil science.

We believe that educating children about the malnutrition, health, and environmental consequences of soil nutrient imbalances, as well as how to address them, is part of the solution to food insecurity. In short, informed children can become the best allies for soil health!

About the contest

How does soil affect nutrition? Healthy soils provide the essential nutrients, water, oxygen and root support that our food-producing plants need to grow and thrive. But soil fertility loss and nutrient imbalances may lead to soil´s capacity loss to produce nutritious and safe food. Nutrient-deficient soils produce nutrient-deficient plants, ultimately causing people to suffer from nutrient deficiencies. Soils with excess nutrients can be a toxic environment for plants and animals and contribute to environmental pollution and greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet. Sustainable soil management, the judicious use of fertilizers, the use and promotion of crop and soil biodiversity, good advice for farmers, and the recycling of nutrients are some examples of strategies to bring back nutrients to soils.

How to take part?

Submit your freestyle book proposal for children based on the WSD 2022 motto: "Soils: Where food begins". The book is intended for children between 6 and 11 years old and must feature at least one of the following elements:

  1. Convey scientific knowledge about soils as the primary source of nutrients for plant growth;
  2. Highlight the relationship between soil health and food quality and quantity;
  3. Establish a clear link between soil nutrient imbalances and environmental pollution and climate change;
  4. Raise awareness of the critical need for healthy soils for healthy crops, which in turn feed healthy and strong people and animals.


  • The artworks will only be accepted in English, and can be in color or black and white and in free genre literature. The authors should address the topic in an interdisciplinary way. 
  • All books must include the motto "Soils: Where food begins”.
  • Books must be submitted in PDF format with images in high resolution (min 600 dpi).
  • Book should be between 12 and 16 pages, including: (1) Cover indicating the title; (2) Introduction and Content (freestyle); (3) Back cover.
  • It is suggested to work on A paper format (A4 – portrait), use visuals* and do not exceed 2 000 – 2 500 words in text length* for the entire book.
  • Each author and/or group of authors can only submit one entry**. 
*Participants should develop short scientific texts, facts (with scientific references) and images/designed illustrations/hand drawings to illustrate scientific knowledge on salt-affected soils for a young audience. 


The IUSS and FAO’s GSP Selection Committee will evaluate all book submissions, and the final decision will be announced by the IUSS President and the FAO’s GSP Secretary on the IUSS and FAO websites. The finalists will be chosen based on creativity and originality, quality of the informational content, technical and scientific proficiency, and artistic/visual impact of the book. 

Submission and deadline

Submissions should be sent by 22 November 2022 through any free file transfer service/platform (i.e. Google drive, Share drive, WeTransfer, Dropbox) to [email protected] and include the mandatory Registration form - accessible through Google forms. 

For any issues to access the Google form, please download it here and send it to [email protected].

All participants are encouraged to post their artwork on social media channels with the hashtag #WorldSoilDay and #Soils4Nutrition.

***All participants are encouraged to learn more about World Soil Day and to consult the GSP publications regarding soil fertility.


The winner will receive a cash prize of 1 000 USD, second and third classified will receive a cash prize of 500 USD and 250 USD, respectively, from IUSS and FAO’s GSP. Shortlisted participants will receive publications on soils, a certificate of participation, a mention on the websites ( and, and soil gadgets. The best scientific books will be showcased on IUSS and FAO’s GSP digital and social media platforms. The winners will be announced on World Soil Day, 5th December 2022.

General Rules, Copyright and Privacy

  • Copyright of materials submitted remains with the respective participants, and copyright owners will be credited accordingly. 
  • Minors must have the permission of their parents or legal guardians to participate in the contest.
  • By submitting your entry, you consent to the drawing being uploaded on digital platforms, and distributed via social media channels.
  • The GSP does not accept responsibility for, or endorse the views of the contestants.

Read the full text here.