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GROW: Building a Citizens’ Observatory

Empowering citizens as data scientists

FutureEverything are leading on service innovation within GROW – an EC funded Citizens’ Observatory project engaging thousands of growers, scientists and others passionate about the land. The project supports people to discover together, using simple tools to better manage soil and grow food, while contributing to vital scientific environmental monitoring – through the validation of the European Space Agency’s land-mapping satellite programme.

Feimatta Conteh
Sarah Bromley
Drew Hemment
Kasia Molga

Soil underpins society, from the food we eat to the clothes we wear.  As a threatened resource, how can we harness data to sustain the future of our soil?

FutureEverything are a main partner of the GROW Observatory, an EC-funded project that draws on our experience of participatory digital culture to help build a citizen’s observatory. GROW brings together people passionate about soil, sustainable growing, climate and open data to build and share knowledge along with scientists and policy makers.

Our role in the project is to lead on service innovation – helping people make sense of data through exciting visualisations and artworks, building interfaces to allow communities to connect, and exploring what new products and services could be built using data generated in GROW.  

The GROW Observatory

The GROW Observatory empowers thousands of growers across Europe with knowledge on sustainable practices, while allowing them to make a vital contribution to global environmental monitoring through low-cost technology and simple experiments.

As one of our main activities, we carried out user research with growing communities and led on the design and build of the online community hub – a key feature of the GROW Observatory where growers can connect and share stories of their growing practice. We’re also leading on creating data visualisations which help growers and scientists understand more about soil.

Visit the GROW Observatory to find out more.

Artist residency

GROW is one of forty projects selected for VERTIGO STARTS, an EC-funded programme of artist residencies established to generate innovation at the nexus of science, technology and the arts.

FAULT LINES artist Kasia Molga is the artist in residence for GROW, where she is currently collaborating with internationally renowned sound artist Scanner. The first artwork to be produced from Kasia’s residency – By the Code of Soil – is available for download from

Kasia’s second artwork is expected in early 2019.

Learning opportunities

The GROW Observatory MOOCs (massive open online courses) are a fun and simple way for growers across Europe to learn more about soil data and get involved in experiments.