Event to GROW awareness of soil quality concerns

Dundee will become the frontline in the fight to save Europe’s soil this week as the city prepares to host a special seminar.

The GROW Observatory, a University of Dundee-led project, is inviting members of the public to identify issues that could jeopardise the nation’s future food supply at an event to be hosted at the Baxter Park Centre on Thursday.

The Europe-wide initiative is bringing people throughout Central Scotland together to highlight issues relating to land management, climate change and other environmental factors that are jeopardising the sustainability of the planet’s soil.

Ahead of the event, Dr Deborah Long, GROW Programme Director based at the University, said, “Soil is something that we probably take for granted, but it is a fragile and finite resource that we must protect.

“The quality of our soil is integral to our way of life and failure to look after it has the potential to disrupt food production and the natural environment. We are hosting events all over Europe to highlight how precarious this situation is and to identify local solutions that could make our soil more sustainable.”

Led by the University, the GROW Observatory is a €5 million EU Horizon 2020 project featuring 18 partner organisations throughout Europe. Utilising data collected by members of the public via free soil sensors, the project aims to create a comprehensive picture of the continent’s soil properties.

The free sensors – similar in size and shape to a twig – are placed in the ground alongside plants, with data collected by the gardener’s smartphone. The low-cost technology gathers data on soil moisture, light and air temperature, which is examined to help improve soil and help the planet’s food producers adapt to climate change.

Thursday’s event will include an introduction to the GROW Observatory and include interactive sessions for participants to develop local action plans to promote regenerative growing priorities.

“This is a great opportunity for people to come together and play a crucial role in changing how we use our soil,” added Dr Long.

“By networking with people in our local area, we can develop means of protecting our soil and food supply for future generations.”

The GROW Observatory’s Open Event takes place in the Baxter Park Centre, Baxter Park, Arbroath Road, from 2-5pm on Thursday 20 September. Places for the event can be booked online.

For media enquiries contact:
Jonathan Watson
Media Relations Officer
University of Dundee
Nethergate, Dundee, DD1 4HN
Tel: +44 (0)1382 381489
Email: j.s.watson@dundee.ac.uk