The GROW Observatory is a platform and community for large scale citizen science that aims to empower growers with knowledge on sustainable practices and make a vital contribution to global environmental monitoring.
GROW aims to underpin smart and sustainable custodianship of land and soil, whilst meeting the demands of future food production. People taking part will collaborate to create and share information on soil, the land, on crops – what to plant, when to plant them and how to do it. They are able to develop knowledge and skills on soil and growing for food, and take practical steps to preserve the soil for future generations.
GROW also aims to answer a longstanding challenge for space science – by helping to validate the detection of soil moisture from satellites. GROW will look at how this can contribute to services and applications that help forecast and prepare for extreme climate events, such as heat waves and floods.
To achieve this GROW will combine low cost sensing technology combined with citizens’ own devices, a simple soil test, innovative data handling and an online education platform to mobilise large numbers of citizens across Europe.
The outcome will be a hub of open knowledge and data created and maintained by growers that will be of value to the citizens themselves as well as specialist communities in science, policy and industry. In GROW, citizen scientists will generate processed, value added, relevant, decision supporting information for sustainable agriculture, gardening, food democracy and space science.
GROW Observatory. European Commission (690199). Nov 2016–Oct 2019.