Giornata Mondiale del Suolo, 5 Dicembre

The winners of the children's book contest on soils for nutrition are...

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) launched a scientific children's book contest on soils for nutrition with the motto "Soils: Where food begins".

1st classified

Soils: where food begins

A Kenyan story, the conversation about a little girl and her mother who take a walk to discover different soil types and to understand which kind of soil plants need to grow well.

Anja Weber, Development Advisor, GIZ, Kenya

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2nd classified

The amazing journey where food is born

This is a cartoon that describes a learning journey that Tlalle and his classmates had to know the exact place where food is born. Tlalle is a girl's name, but means land in Nahuatl, an indigenous language in Mexico. The story begins at breakfast with his father, with a little doubt about where the food comes from. This leads her on a series of clues that lead from the house to the ground, passing through the school, the school cafeteria, the supermarket and a visit to the field with farmers. Finally, Tllale and her classmates return to school with seeds to build a garden vegetables and continue learning about the relationship between healthy soil, healthy food, and healthy people.

Juan Camilo Fontalvo Buelvas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, PhD student in Sustainability Sciences, Mexico

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3rd classified

Special picnic on World Soil Day

This book aims to show children and all soil lovers, in a playful and fun way, the importance of soil as a food producer. The work highlights that, for this to happen, the soil must be healthy, conserved, and full of life, that is, rich in biodiversity, which help to maintain and replace essential nutrients for plant growth, securing food provision to animals and people. 

Jully Gabriela Retzlaf de Oliveira, Universidade Estadual do Norte do Paraná - UENP; Professora adjunta C do colegiado de Geografia, Brazil

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Soils: where food begins

How does soil affect nutrition? What is soil health? Why is the soil important? and other questions, the children will be able to find out by following the path of the ants through knowledge.

Laura Isabel Castro Arza, Agronomical Engineer, Colombia

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The amazing soil: Our food and our health 

This booklet was designed to disseminate scientific knowledge about soil fertility and nutrition to children. The information was based on scientific literature. The language used was designed to be simple and fun, showing concepts about the importance of soil fertility for all living organisms. This booklet also refers to the importance of sustainable development goals in soil conservation.

Marcela Bianchessi da Cunha Santino,  Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCar), Dr., Professor, Researcher, Brazil

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Food Sprouts from the Soil

This booklet  is a story that tells of the quest of Junior, a very intelligent child, to understand how food begins. In this search Junior is helped by the little clod Ana Terra, who introduces him to Mr. Soil. From there, young readers can enjoy a thought-provoking conversation about how to take care of the soil so that plants provide quality food.

Adriana de Fátima Meira Vital, Universidade Federal de Campina Grande, Dra, Teacher 

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Soils: where food begins

This book follows a story that is sparked by a small child asking her father where the food on her plate comes from. It teaches about the nutrients hidden in the soils, the threats soils face globally, how important they are for feeding people, and finishes by encouraging the child to get her hands dirty, examine the soil and try planting a seed for herself.

James Dowers, Research scientist, ADAS, United Kingdom

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Soils: where food begins

Sashini Manikandan, student, United Arab Emirates

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Let's eat food

The book is about the importance of minerals in the soil and for the production of plants, which are the basis for all food, also of animal origin.

Vincent Michel, father, Switzerland

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Soil is valuable: nurture it for better livelihood

Tapanjyoti Ghose, Retd. Principal scientist and chief scientist, aau, RARS, tutabor, Jorhat, Assam, india

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Soils, where food begins

Join Andi the soil as they explore the role of nutrients in plant growth, soil health, food production, and nutrition.

Lewis Fausak, Franco Lopez Campomanes, Teresa Porter, University of British Columbia

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The adventures of Lumbricus and Xenylla in the orchard

Autors: Ing. Agr. M.Sc. Dra. Gabriela Silvia Fernandez (Inta Aer Perico/Unju), Ing. Agr. M.Sc. Laura Diez Yarade (Unju), Ing. Agr. M.Sc. Graciela Del Carmen Zankar (Unju), Bióloga Dra. Fanny Altamirano (Unju-proyajo Sa)

Translation: Graciela Del Carmen Zankar (Unju)

Design and Photos: Gabriela Silvia Fernandez

Illustrations by Benjamín Noceti (12 years old)were combined with free access drawings.


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Restoring health through soil in the Evergreen Farm

José Roberto Ponte

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The soil: from knowledge to food

The story happened in a farm in the State of Goiás, in Brazil, where a family lived. Mr. José had inherited his grandparents farm and in it he produced food for the support of his family. In time, the farm's soil started to degrade, because of improper use, which affected food production and the environment. Maria Lúcia, Mr. José's daughter, that went to study agronomy, returned after some years and used her new-found knowledge to recover that soil. She also taught the local children and their parents the importance of a healthy soil. The soil went back to it's productive capacity and Mr. José thanked his daughter every day for the changes she brought.

Adriana Ribon, Department of Soil Science, Goiás State University (UEG) Doctor Associate Professor Associate Professor of Soil Science.

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Meheraab-The Soil Scientist

The book showcases the journey of a young aspiring boy Meheraab who with the help of his knowledge and skills motivates his village, to work in harmony towards helping soil regain its fertility and productivity.

Sammarjeet Singh and Divjot Kaur

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Soils, where food begins

Luna does not yet know what adventure is awaiting her in her grandad’s garden. While she is trying to fall asleep among the bean plants she hears a rhyme by a most unusual character. A few words to be transported closer than ever to the magic universe of soil, roots, plants and food.

Laura & Lea Riggi, Sweden

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Soil: The Supplier

Bruna Vicente, Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, Master degree in Programa de Pós Graduação em Ciência do Solo

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The minuscule grand Yu

This is a history about a earthworm and her contribution to food production. 

Vianii Cruz-López, Instituto Politecnico Nacional, PhD candidate, Mexico

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Rag to riches

It is a story of two brothers trying to feed themselves on land beside each other. One of the brothers exploits the soil rather than cherish the soil like his brother. The changes in soil and outer environment reveal the need to build a positive relationship between humans and the soil.

Guiyang 涂, China

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The Beauty of a Healthy Soil

Having a Healthy Soil really means to us. It is our big responsibility to do something that can improve the soil. We need to know the condition of the soil in order to build soil health. Knowing the status of the soil is the key to monitoring and managing the soil.

Precious Dane Tagas, Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan, Instructor, The Philippines

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Food for soul

This book is about soil and how important it is to maintain healthy soil for nutrition and food To convey the message to young kids about how soil health is directly correlated to human health. 

Sayba Binte Sharif, Bangladesh

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Soils, where food begins

Emma is a girl that wants to get as strong as her big vegetarian dinosaur friend (Saura Kubwa). She wants to understand if the plants in her grandmother's farm will make her as strong as Saura. 

Maite Guardiola Claramonte, Water and Sanitation Advisor, Kenya

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Solinho in the cerrado

Antonio Azevedo, University of Sao Paulo

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The three maries Corn Marie, Pumpkin Marie and Pea Marie Three inseparable sisters 

Nowadays the soil is getting poorer in nutrients, with this book we want to invite you to see the importance of ancestral knowledge and science in the recovery of the soil and its nutrients. 

Leidy Rocio Niño Camacho, Docente, Colombia

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Discover the details of the Children's Book Contest on #Soils4Nutrition

Discover the details of the Children's Book Contest on #Soils4Nutrition

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.