Humus per la Biosfera

Building up humus as a “climate gas sink” to bind carbon and enrich soil fertility in Sicily.


Humus is the essence of fertile soil and thus an important contribution to food security. It also has the ability to bind carbon and thus reduce CO2 emission. Worldwide, in Europe, and especially in Sicily, the loss of humus is a serious problem. To counteract this development, municipalities, farmers, and individuals need to apply new approaches in waste management and agriculture.

Summer Landscape in Sicily

Sicilian Summer Landscape: ©Manfred-Hermsen-Stiftung and Giacche Verdi Bronte


The project team promotes humus growth in farms and gardens in the small-scale farming river valleys of Mount Etna, Sicily. These valleys constitute an important eco-corridor between three nature parks which are home to the wildcat and other species. Several activities aim at encouraging the return of organic matter from households and farms to the soil, thus binding carbon and enriching soil biodiversity and fertility.

On several trial plots, the project team works together with scientists and more than one hundred farmers to develop climate- and biodiversity-friendly organic farming methods that ensure the production and preservation of humus soil. This additionally contributes to the goals set in the Italian Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Strategic Plan.

Furthermore, the team cooperates with 27 municipalities located within a planned biosphere reserve by providing guidance for an ambitious project: the establishment of a regional organic waste composting system for 140,000 inhabitants.

Finally, the project team supports environmental education for approximately 3,000 Sicilian schoolchildren by providing education material to schools, focusing on the potential of composting for climate action.  To accompany this, project members also assist the construction of schoolyard composters.

The project team includes 20-30 young volunteers from across Europe in all activities, making them multipliers who transport the lessons learned into their home countries.

Project information

Updated: January 2022

Countries: Italy

Project duration: 08/21 - 08/23

Funding: 195,800 €

Target groups: Cities, towns and municipalities, Educational institutions, Schools

Implementing organisation: Manfred-Hermsen-Stiftung

Partners: Giacche Verdi Bronte

Contact Person:

Ms Stefanie Hermsen

Manfred-Hermsen-Stiftung für Natur und Umwelt

Goebenstr. 1
28209 Bremen



This project is part of the European Climate Initiative (EUKI). EUKI is a project financing instrument by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK). The EUKI call for project ideas is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. It is the overarching goal of the EUKI to foster climate cooperation within the European Union (EU) in order to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.


European Climate Initiative (EUKI)
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10785 Berlin – Germany

Tel.: +49 (0)30 338424 570