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Into the Garden: the power of IoT for local food producing communities

posted on 2016-10-31, 12:04 authored by ITaaU NetworkITaaU Network, Derek McAuley,

Into the Garden: the power of IoT for local food producing communities

Led by the University of Nottingham

With partners: Royal College of Art (RCA); Barracks Lane; Brighton and Hove Allotment Federation; Community Composting Network, The Guardian; Hammersmith Community Gardens; Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; St. Anns Allotments; Wireless Things; The National Allotment Society; Plumpton College; Incredible Edible Todmorden; The Victoria and Albert Museum; Writtle College

Project lead: Prof. Derek McAuley, Professor of Digital Economy

His research concerns the impact on systems infrastructure of human centred design, including architectures that make comprehensible the privacy and sharing aspects of the underlying information flows.


This project brings together a range of partners interested in the transformative power of Internet of Things (IoT) with data sharing as a utility for local communities of food producers. The project supports FSA’s remit to uphold food safety within local growing communities, and to gather evidence on growing environments. The project will run some ideation workshops to focus the expertise of interdisciplinary researchers, IoT manufacturers and growing organisations on socio-technical solutions to realize this transformative power, and also develop a technology demonstrator based on the outputs of the workshops.

The project addresses the lack of understanding about how IoT can be interacted with to extract human-actionable meaning – and so transition to Intelligent Information Infrastructure (I3) – across ad hoc data sharing communities.

To identify IoT opportunities within the FSA remit, the team will work with local food growers from across the UK and key network partners including educators, regulators and press.

The methodology leverages the power of open design by enabling growers to configure IoT technology kits and infrastructures to meet the needs of their community; and as a consequence the community will have the capacity to engage in citizen science, gathering and sharing data that improves the accountability of local-produced food.

This short project increases public engagement with IoT and I3 research by putting technologies directly into hands of under-explored market segments. It also has an initial impact on culture and practices of the community into which we place the demonstrator, potentially informing their own day-to-day data gathering and response mechanisms.

More broadly, pervasive environmental monitoring will benefit regional and national decision makers (such as FSA) by providing greater insights into the build-up of pollutants in local growing ecosystems, as well as the effects of climate change and changes in biodiversity patterns.




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