Community science

Science is not limited to scientist! Get involved and be part of an international community advancing fermented food biodiversity.

As part of HealthFerm, the Citizen Science Center Zurich (CSCZ) runs a Community Science project to establish a network of researchers, citizen scientists, artisans and food industry professionals as well as small and medium-sized enterprises to collect and document fermented food biodiversity in Europe and beyond.

Through the citizen science approach, the project aims to meet home bakers' needs and interests.

In Healthferm, citizen engagement lies at the heart of the research activities. Hence, a series of co-design workshops will be hosted throughout Europe in different languages. During these workshops, home bakers can share their experience in baking sourdough bread and tell the project team which scientific information about their sourdough starter they are interested in. This information will then be used to adapt the HealthFerm research questions according to the outcome of the workshop.

After these workshops are concluded, the HealthFerm team will commence sample collection for the sourdough citizen science project. During this participatory science approach, home bakers from different countries are invited to send in samples of their sourdough starter.

Contact us, and we will send you a sample collecting kit, with detailed instructions. This invaluable contribution will help scientists unravel the factors driving microbial diversity in these starters and figure out how science can help improve the fermentation process.

Who can participate?

Everyone who is interested in fermentation of foods or sourdough can participate in our co-design workshop, although there are limited places available. But even if not everyone can participate in the workshop, everyone can participate by sending us their sourdough starter samples!

Please contact, and we will let you know how you can participate.

16th of March 2023 - Co-design workshop in Z├╝rich

Save the date! For the first co-design workshop, held in German, we invite home bakers to learn about their expectations in participating in and engaging with this project.

If you're interested, please don't hesitate to reach out to us directly through

30th of March 2023 - Co-design workshop near Leuven, Belgium

Are you living in Belgium, do you enjoy baking sourdough bread and want to discover what makes your bread unique?
Would you like to contribute to scientific research while learning more about the science behind sourdough?

Perfect! On the evening of March 30th 2023, scientists of the VUB and KU Leuven, together with Alice down the rabbit hole, will organise a co-design workshop near Leuven, Belgium. The idea of this workshop comes from our wish to align the HealthFerm sourdough microbiome research with the questions and interests that live among home and professional sourdough bakers. Using an interactive format we will sit together with interested sourdough bakers and we will determine how and what we can give back to the people that will later on participate in our sourdough collection campaign.


You can register for the event through: Please note that the event will take place in Dutch.

More citizen science workshops are set to take place across Europe later in 2023. These workshops will provide a unique opportunity for individuals to participate in scientific research and make a valuable contribution to important projects. Some workshops will be designed specifically for hobbyists who enjoy fermenting at home, while others will cater to professionals working in the culinary industry. Stay tuned for further updates and do not hesitate to reach out to us for more information.