Here in the UK, we are living in an era of ‘cheap’ food.
Farmers are having to focus on the quantity of food grown, rather than the quality, which has resulted in a loss of 40% of nutrients in our food supply. It has also caused a loss of soil health, pollution of both land and water, loss of biodiversity, and contributes to the changing climate.
‘Growing Real Food for Nutrition’ (Grffn) was created to empower farmers, growers, and gardeners to grow nutrient dense food. By teaching growers how to measure and record the quality of their soil, and both the nutrient density and taste of their plants, Grffn aim to benefit the health of both people and the planet.
“We want to engage growers in an experiential learning journey based on cooperation with nature.”
At the Oxford Real Farming Conference in 2020, Matthew and Elizabeth from the Grffn team demonstrated how to measure nutrient density with a Brix refractometer, and as a result were invited to conduct a brix and taste test live on BBC Radio 4 the next day. Following the positive reception, they began planning an app that helps growers to measure and record the value of their food, based on nutrient density and the quality of their soil. Through an education platform, growers can improve the quality of their crops, and self-certify the nutritional value of their food production.
Matthew, Elizabeth and David joined the Ingenuity Programme in 2021, which enabled them to build their confidence in both their idea and their own personal development.
“Taking part in Ingenuity really crystalised what Grffn is about for us. The one-to-one mentoring was so helpful – having that feedback gave us the opportunity to hone our ideas with a really eloquent sounding board.”
They successfully progressed through the competition, with their idea gaining them a place at the national finals. In May 2021, the team discovered they had won the West of England first place prize, in addition to the Shakespeare Martineau legal prize for the region.
Grffn are now in the process of developing their self-certification app with the aim to launch in 2023!