Ana Cebin and Borut Vrscaj lead the GROW place in Slovenia through the Agricultural Institute of Slovenia (AIS), a public non-profit research institution. The main activities of AIS are research and consultancy services in many different fields, such as agriculture, ecology, environment, crop protection, soil properties, animal production, and economics.
A colleague of Ana’s, Mojca Spazzapan, who is a nature, technology and permaculture enthusiast, participated in GROW online courses and wanted to participate in the Changing Climate Mission, but there was no GROW Place in Slovenia yet. Mojca contacted the AIS, the Department of Agricultural Ecology and Natural Resources to tell them about this exciting project.
The Department of Agricultural Ecology and Natural Resources conducts research in field in sustainable agriculture, protection of soils and other natural resources in agro-environments, preservation of soil quality, emissions and sinks problems in agriculture, integrated use of pesticides against weeds and pests, and soil and environmental geoinformatics. It integrates research and expert institutions and services and provides direct support to farmers, state administration, environmentalists, and educational institutions.
“The AIS, Department of Agricultural Ecology and Natural Resources is interested in obtaining topsoil moisture measurement data. Very valuable information obtained by GROW sensors can be linked to other information in various research activities. In addition, the GROW project already encouraged the inclusion of farmers and gardeners across Slovenia. They are looking forward to the soil moisture measurements on their gardens and farmland,” Ana said.
GROW Observatory - Kmetijski inštitut Slovenije
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“As the only GROW Place in Slovenia, we want to distribute sensors across the country as evenly as possible, taking into account different soil types and different land uses,” Ana added.
In addition to providing the soil moisture data to the GROW Observatory, AIS will also be able to carry out further analyses and use the results as a tool to make models, potentially improve farming, gardening, and land management as well as to assist with learning processes in pedagogical institutions.
We’ve just received an update before going to publish from Ana: “We have done so much in a very short time — we distributed more than 300 soil moisture sensors across Slovenia. Most of the users were really excited about the project and are saying that the sensors are working.”
There has been a lot of work to do in a very short time, but I’ve loved working on the GROW project.