Get Involved

If you’re interested in growing food and learning more about soils, we’d love to hear from you. There are a number of ways you can get involved.

Take Part: Novice food growers, experienced food growers, or anything in between  – we’d like you to join us!

Email us on EQUI-Food@liverpool.ac.uk to sign up

Get our newsletter: Receive regular updates about what we’re up to

What happens when I sign-up to take part? We will first check eligibility and then send a growing and analysis kit for sampling and monitoring your soil for 12 weeks. We will test a sample of your soil and give you some seeds to grow and ask you to report on how your soil and growing is getting on every fortnight. You will receive vouchers for taking part and we will share the results of the soil analysis.

An EQUI-Food kit will be sent to people’s homes once they sign-up.

What’s involved if I want to participate? We’re recruiting participants now! Taking part involves dedicating a small patch of soil/ground or planter for growing borage. We’ll ask you to send us some soil samples, complete fortnightly growing diaries via our website or app, and complete online questionnaires. We will send you everything you need to get started in our EQUI-Food kit.

Eligibility and consent: First thing we need to do is check eligibility, that you are 18+, that you have some space such as a yard, garden, allotment or window box to grow something in (pots and boxes will need to be at least 15 cm3 ) and you’re OK using websites and mobile phone apps. We will share project information and check you’re happy to take part.

Here’s a video of Rachel taking a soil sample, burying the cotton strip and planting borage in a container in her back yard.

Growing experience, nature connectedness and wellbeing: We will send you a short survey to ask how long you’ve been growing, how connected to nature you feel and your current perceptions of your personal wellbeing.

Growing and monitoring kit: We will send you a box containing a soil monitor, soil sample and envelopes, borage seeds, cotton strips, bodger, instructions and a username. You will use the kit to do the following:

Choose location and take a soil sample 1: Wherever you choose to grow your borage seeds (container, garden etc) take a sample of the soil, place within sample bag and post it to us for analysis.

Plant seeds and bury cotton strip: In your chosen area plant your borage seeds. In a section of soil next to the seeds submerge your cotton strip into the soil so it is at least 10 cm deep into the ground. Use your bodger to indicate where the fabric strip is buried.

Login to website: Using your username and password login to the website.

Add location information: Use the website to describe and photograph where you have planted your seeds, where your soil has come from and how healthy you think your soil is.

Rachel records where she has planted her borage and uploads it to the website.

Share your progress: Every fortnight we’ll get in touch to ask how your soil and borage is getting on. We’ll ask you to either use your soil monitor, provide a description or share a photograph or all three. We’ll share your content with other growers on the website. We’ll also update the website with information about soil analysis from the rooftop parts of our study.

Soil sample 2 remove cotton strip: In the final week of the study we will ask you to take a sample of the soil to send back to us for analysis. Remove the cotton strip and photograph it to see how much it has biodegraded and report on how healthy you think your soil is.

Sharing soil results: We will compare and share your soil sample results from the start to the end to look at any changes.

Nature connectedness and wellbeing: We will ask you complete a final survey to gauge changes in your nature connectedness and wellbeing.

Research project feedback: We will share our initial findings with you and since the project is a pilot feasibility study, we will ask for some final feedback via a survey about your experience of being involved.