Grower’s Nation

The aim of Growers’ Nation is to help get more people involved in and enthusiastic about growing produce using the available space in gardens, in their school/ university/ work grounds and even on rooftops, which is not currently being used to its full potential. The project involves development of a free to use, scientific based global application and related outreach. It is being designed to reduce the barriers to growing locally by enabling people to find quickly and easily what produce they can grow in their soil, and when the optimal time in their area is for planting and harvesting different crops. The app, currently under development, has the potential to reach a wide range of users, from someone new to growing produce in their back garden, to schools that are starting or maintaining allotments, to crop farmers in developing countries. It will take location, soil, climate and growing condition data into consideration. The information provided will be updated using recent weather observations and the integration of weather forecasts and routinely updated soil data will help to provide the optimal advice possible.

Currently available data sets of soil parameter measurements are sparse, particularly in developing regions of the world, and soil properties can vary significantly over small regions. User input of local soil parameters to the Growers’ Nation application could greatly improve the accuracy of the growing recommendations provided back to the end user. Soil sensor hardware is currently being developed, and we would also like to develop code to feed the data back to a central database.

We are a growing team of volunteers from a diverse range of backgrounds including science, software and hardware development, teaching and gardening. We are currently continuing development of a UK prototype web application as proof of concept, although we would also like to develop smart phone applications.

The software/ technologies we are currently using are MongoDB, Java, Javascript, Dojo, Python. The code development so far can be found at-

Website -

Twitter – @GrowersNation

Media -

The challenge

We are keen to continue with the solution in an open and creative way, welcoming new ideas and input.

Our key aims for the hackathon are to:

  •  complete development of theUKprototype version of the Growers’ Nation app
  • develop software to interface between soil sensors and the database


We would also like to make the app as interactive, exciting and community based as possible:

  • create an interactive platform for app user’s to share ideas/ horticulture experience
  • create a means to crowd source data including feedback about the app’s usefulness, pests that have affected crops and local soil parameters.
  • develop an education portal so that school teachers can find relevant lesson plans to get their students involved in growing fruit and veg.

Suggested Data Resources

  1. Met Office Data Point - (observations and temperature/ precipitation forecast)
  2. UK precipitation climatology data –
  3. NERC/ BGS/ CEH soil portal data –


It’s All Over!
Thanks to everyone who helped make FOSS4G 2013 a success!