Citizen science research projects!

Citizen science is public participation in scientific research.  Grffn is developing two citizen science projects. The Bionutrient meter and Brix testing UK.

Please follow this link to register your interest for growing Nutrient Dense Food and get involved with a Citizen Science Project to begin measuring success.

Measuring Success

The Bionutrient Meter

The central research objective of Grffn is to support the development of a Bionutrient meter that will test fruits and vegetables, in real time, for nutrient density.  The inspiration for this comes from the Bionutrient Food Association (BFA) based in America, who, together with partners, launched the ‘Real Food Campaign’ in 2018.  Read the BFA’s summary report herehttps://bionutrient.org/site/real-food-campaign/RFC-report-2018to discover the variation in nutrient density of carrots and spinach.  Grffn will partner with the BFA and mirror the work they are doing in the UK.  <more> to reveal rest of this info.

The Bionutreint meter uses a trusted technology called spectrometry which has been shrunk into a small hand-held device. Using a series of led lights it fires a beam of light at the sample and records the reflectance at different frequencies. For example, if we were testing carrots the light that is reflected will be different if the sample being tested contains only a few nutrients compared to one that has lots of nutrients (dense).  The results must be calibrated which involves testing lots of samples for each type of fruit and vegetable to build a database. Results from the Bionutreint meter can then be matched to known values of nutrients.  The more samples that are collected the better the device will be which is why we are asking people to get involved.

Participants will be asked to collect and send samples of fruits, vegetables and the soils they were grow in, to our UK laboratory.  The lab will test your samples to determine levels of minerals, trace minerals, proteins, polyphenols and antioxidants. They will also test the soils they were grown in for microbial life, soil carbon and organic matter. With some additional details from yourselves the results will be uploaded to an open-source database that will allow you to log on and find your unique results and compare them against others.

This information will have many benefits including

  1. Expose variation of nutrient density of UK fruits and vegetables.
  2. Set a meaningful measure of success based on health that relates to regenerative, organic practices.
  3. Compare results nationally and internationally from participating countries.
  4. Results used to calibrate the Bionutreint meter to empower growers to understand the best way to grow better food
  5. Incentivise markets to encourage citizens to demand better quality food and build trust with the ability to self-certify healthy food and soils using the Bionutreint meter.

Brix Testing UK

Brix testing is a simple process that anyone can do themselves to assess nutrient density in fruits and vegetables. We would like to begin benchmarking the Brix quality of foods in the UK and are asking people to join us in a project to collect and upload their data. It’s easy, affordable and anyone can do it.  All you need is a Brix kit, <hyperlink Brix ki price list>a Brix chart <hyperlink Brix chart> and you begin testing right away in the field or at home. Since the 1970’s the Brix chart, developed by Dr Carey Reams, has become the standard assessment guide for nutrient density.  Laid out in four columns ‘poor’, ‘average’, ‘good’ and ‘excellent’ are Brix numbers that relate to different fruits and vegetables.

In 2019 armed with my Brix kit I went on a solo journey to begin building a baseline for fruits and vegetables in the UK.  To give an example of how the results of this project might look follow this link  <Brix test results 2019>