About the Project | GROW Observatory

About the Grow Observatory

GROW Observatory is a  Citizens’ Observatory that has empowered people and whole communities to take action on soils and climate across Europe. GROW has ground-truthed Sentinel-1 to improve the accuracy of predictions on extreme events, such as flood, drought and wildfire.

Our vision

We are supporting a movement of citizens generating, sharing and using information on growing and the land.Thousands of people have come together to collect and make use of data, gaining a voice on local issues, improving soil, land use, climate change adaptation and our overall sustainability.  


GROW is the first continental-scale Citizens’ Observatory to monitor a key parameter for science, continuously over an extended period, and at an unmatched spatial density. GROW has, for the first time, used crowdsourced ground observations from low-cost sensors to validate soil moisture information from satellites, including the new generation of high-resolution satellites, Sentinel-1.

24 GROW communities in 13 European countries create an unprecedented network of 6,502 ground-based soil sensors and a dataset of 516M rows of soil data. 

Artists and Designers

We have embedded design thinking at the heart of GROW, and the arts play an integrative role. Artists have created artworks to help us reflect on the importance of invisible systems to our lives, such as soil ecosystems and remote sensing satellites. Designers have created dynamic visualisations for use in agriculture and climate forecasting using GROW data. 


Our evaluation has revealed many insights, GROW has helped thousands of people to learn about and test regenerative food growing techniques. Farmers in the Canary Islands have reduced their use of water for irrigation by 30%. Our communities and data services are  continuing after the current funding period is ended.


Winner of Land and Soil Management Award 2019, acclaimed by Jury, “the best example for future significant sustainability projects aiming at soil health.” Named first in EC’s annual GEO Plenary statement on the major developments in Earth Observation in 2019. Winner of Stephen Fry Award for Excellence in Public Engagement, GROW is ‘Public Engagement Project of the Year 2020.’

Grow in numbers

24 GROW communities and sensor clusters in 13 European countries

20,500 People actively participating in citizen science or data collection

17,400 GROW learners

7.8M People reached

165 Countries reached

6,502 Sensors connected to GROW platform

516M Soil data rows (without counting metadata)

11 Datasets for future exploitation

Satellite products validated

10+ Satellite products that can benefit in future

Information services for GROW users

30+ Handbooks, tools, resources 

12+ New/more sustainable practices adopted by growers within the life of GROW

30% Reduced use of water for irrigation at two farms in the Canary Islands (amplifiers)

12 mth Extension of GROW data services

Communities continuing to collect data beyond the funding period

Business and operational plan for future development


You can find us on Twitter @growobservatory.
Or contact us by email: hello@growobservatory.org


Who are the people behind GROW?

The partner organisations in the GROW Observatory span Europe and share an interest in sustainable food growing, soil, climate, creativity and design, open data, accessible technology and the incredible things that can happen when people come together to make the change.


GROW Partners

University of Dundee  University of Edinburgh  United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO)  Met Office  International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)  Technische Universitat Wien  FutureEverything  HydroLogic Research  Starlab  Thingful  James Hutton Institute  Storythings Permaculture Association  Cultivate  CulturePolis  University of Miskolc  Parrot  Forrest Trust

GROW Community Champions

Tatjana Tupy, Lebensgut, Austria

Magdalena Resch, Lebensgut, Austria

Nicole Geiblinger, Hendlerghof, Austria

Volkmar Geiblinger, Hendleberghof, Austria

Tanja Polegubic, Saltwater, Croatia

James Wardell, Croatia

Charlie Grey, Permaculture Association Britain, England

Cara Wilson, Grower, England

Lucas Hornby, Grower, England

Angeliki Bampala, Calypso, Greece

Nana Zoidou, Calypso, Greece

Kyriaki Chatzisavva, X-Wines, Greece

Giorgos Gkaletsas, Greece

Frangiskos Karelas, Eumelia, Greece

János Vécsei, SZEMmúvesség Bt, Hungary

Joanne Butler, Community Gardens Ireland, Ireland

Dee Sewell, Greenside Up, Ireland

Chiara Corbari, Politecnico di Milano, Italy

Karine Paris, CELL, Luxembourg

Tania Walisch, CELL, Luxembourg

Peter Paree, ZLTO, Netherlands

Wico DIeleman, ZLTO, Netherlands

Maja Borkowska, Foundation for Ecological Regeneration, Poland

Noemi Nemes, Foundation for Ecological Regeneration, Poland

Walt Ludwick, Vale da Lama, Portugal

Ana Cátia Proença Vasconcelos, University of Lisbon, Portugal 

Gil Pessanha Penha-Lopes, University of Lisbon, Portugal

Wendy McCombes, Forward Coupar, Scotland

Ana ČEBIN, Agricultural Institute of Slovenia, Slovenia

Dr. Borut Vrščal, Agricultural Institute of Slovenia, Slovenia

Michał Moś, Canary Islands, Spain

Alice Grey, Grower, Wales

European Citizens

The GROW community includes thousands of people from across Europe and beyond who have taken part in GROW.

By the Code of Soil (2018)

By Kasia Molga, Scanner and GROW Observatory

Produced by FutureEverything, as a part of VERTIGO and GROW Observatory.

GROW Open Data Challenge as part of Data Pitch (2018-19)

Agroknow Pilot Agri-food Service 

Data Pitch is funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

VERTIGO Artist Residency (2018-19)

GROW Observatory X Kasia Molga in collaboration with Scanner

Additional video Footage: Année Zéro – Benoit Martin, Marc Parazon

VERTIGO is funded under the H2020 European STARTS initiative, innovation at the nexus of Science, Technology, and the ARTS.


Dynamic Soil Moisture Map (2019)

By GROW Observatory  

Data visualisation: Moritz Stefaner

Algorithms: University of Miskolc and IIASA

Data provided by: GROW Community