The GROW Observatory (GROW) is a European-wide project engaging thousands of growers, scientists and others passionate about the land. We will discover together, using simple tools to better manage soil and grow food, while contributing to vital scientific environmental monitoring.
Why is there a GROW Observatory?
There are many human and environmental challenges facing us today.
Two challenges that GROW is focusing on are saving our soils and adapting to climate change. By helping people understand and improve both soil and food growing practices, by contributing soil moisture data over a large geographical scale – and overall by helping empower people to work on these topics collaboratively – we can aid climate science, impact on policy, and make a difference in our own actions. This means we can help respond to the crucial sustainability challenges the planet faces.
How is GROW going to do this?
Take action in growing spaces wherever those are and join learning experiences online.
Across Europe, hundreds and then thousands of growers will learn together on GROW website and online platform FutureLearn, and take action in growing spaces wherever they are, locally and across Europe. They will get to try out exciting new ways to improve their soil and food production methods. Participants do simple, coordinated soil experiments to capture and make sense of data on their local environment. This helps validate good local growing practices and international environmental monitoring.
Our vision is to support the emergence of a movement of citizens generating, sharing and using information on growing and the land.
This can lead to more sustainable land use practices, better soil and land governance and policy, and a unique data repository for science. Through this, people gain a voice on local issues and tailored advice on which new crops to plant, when to water, sow and harvest. In turn, their insight will underpin better-informed decision-making and policy objectives, while improving soil, land use, climate change adaptation and our overall sustainability.
GROW will realise our vision by enabling citizens to measure land and soil parameters at high spatial resolution over large geographical areas, using the Internet and mobile technologies combined with widely available consumer sensors and a simple soil test.
Growers of all scales can contribute data, shape their own missions, and take part in citizen science experiments.
GROW missions are citizen science activities. They happen over weeks or months. In GROW missions, you can take action in growing spaces wherever they are and learn together on the GROW website and online platform FutureLearn. You will get to try out exciting new ways to improve your soil and food production methods. You will do simple, coordinated soil observations and experiments to capture and make sense of data on your local environment. This helps validate good growing practices and environmental monitoring.
GROW missions during 2017 come in many shapes and flavours. Some are for anybody, anywhere. Others take place in specific places in Europe. Other ongoing ways you can engage with GROW is by taking part in online discussions and events.
In 2017, take part in smaller scale activities, in which we test materials and ideas with a small, core cohort.
We then scale up from 2018.
There is an online course on soil and growing, an online space to discover and share stories, soil moisture sensor trials in three locations in Europe, and summer experiments you can do in your growing space, wherever you are.
Our most recent mission was an online course, From Soil To Sky. There was an incredible response to this, and we will rerun it in case you missed it.
Who are the people behind GROW?
The partner organisations in GROW Observatory span Europe – and share an interest in sustainable food growing, soil, climate, open data, accessible technology, and the incredible things that can happen when people come together to make the change.
By contributing to GROW, you are contributing to a shared and open resource of data and knowledge. GROW will combine data contributed by individuals, groups and publicly available scientific data to generate new open knowledge and practices.
• You will be contributing to a shared and open resource of data and knowledge.
• Your privacy is important to us, and no data about you will be shared.
• GROW aims to provide services to citizens and science on a not for profit basis.
• Data use will be in line with the values of the project and EU legislation.
• Our data governance policy will be published in 2017.
Like the sound of that?
Then get involved! We’re looking for participants all over Europe to join the project.