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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

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Farm IT

Coders, Ranchers, Chefs Converge at Stanford U. to Hack Meat Supply Chain

June 26, 2013 |
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Photo Credit: Nicola Kerslake

Nowadays, there seems to be at least one hackathon per hacker. Even in the notoriously tech-adverse sustainable agriculture world, we’ve seen events ranging from the software-focused Hacking for Good (Food) to the policy-oriented Farm Bill Hack to the National Young Farmer’s Coalition’s Farm Hack, which adapts commonplace farm equipment to innovative uses. Yet, there are still plenty of food chain issues that could use innovative approaches.

This past weekend, Stanford University hosted the Hack//Meat SF, the second of a series of meat supply chain hackathons organized by New York-based Food+Tech Connect. The event brought together in excess of 150 coders, ranchers, chefs, and designers to create better solutions for the meat supply chain over a rainy weekend, a particularly tough challenge in light of the complexity of the issues involved. Read More

To Help Small Farmers Meet City’s Demand, Online Startup Directly Connects Local Farms to Buyers

March 27, 2013 |

Farmers Web is an 18-month-old start-up that aims to link local farms with local buyers through a wholesale “management tool,” and vibrant online marketplace that allows you to “shop and sell local online, anytime.”

The brainchild of co-founder and CEO, Jennifer Goggin, Farmers Web was born in downtown Manhattan from decidedly non-bucolic roots.

“I went into finance after college (Columbia University – political science), but my heart just wasn’t in it,” Goggin said. “So we decided that promoting small agriculture was something we could grab hold of.” Read More

Farmer-driven Community Embraces Open Source Communication to Accelerate Innovation on the Farm

February 5, 2013 |

Flame weeder demonstration at Essex/Intervale Farm Hack. Photo Credit: Kristen Loria.

Employing web-based social networking technology to simulate old school neighbor-to-neighbor information share, Farm Hack is a farmer-driven, collaborative project that develops, builds, documents and shares tools for resilient, small-scale agriculture. The secret behind it all is its use of an open source web platform that allows users to edit all the pages on the site – it’s basically a wiki site for farm technology and innovation – resulting in a user-driven community that self-evolves according to the needs of its members.

“It’s not a new thing for farmers to repair their own equipment, adapt their equipment or design new tools – this is something that’s been happening for centuries on small family farms – but the idea of Farm Hack is to use new forms of communication technology and organization to accelerate that process,” explained Kristen Loria, Farm Hack Coordinator. Read More

Startup Seeks to Shape Future of Urban Agriculture with Fish, Automation and Well Designed Hardware

January 17, 2013 |

Photo Credit: Future Tech Farm.

Two young mechanical engineers, Brian Falther, 24, a 2010 graduate of Kettering University (Flint, Mich.) and Austin Lawrence, 21, a senior at Kettering University, have teamed up to bring small aquaponic grow systems into people’s homes, with each system being connected to an online farm community. Their concept is at once a virtual world with online interaction and connectivity and an authentic reality where real, clean, healthy food grows in a large collection of personal micro-aquaponic systems in homes throughout the world. They call their idea Future Tech Farm.

“The way we have been describing our home grow system is as a ‘node’ of the farm. The sum of all the nodes equals the farm. In essence, the Future Tech Farm is a singular decentralized and distributed farm—what we are calling a farming platform with a physical and virtual representation,” says Falther. Read More

Paper Records Begone! Startup’s Organizational Software Helps Farmers Go Digital

December 3, 2012 |

You would think the only cloud a farmer would be interested in would be one that brings rain. However, with the start-up software company FarmLogs, farmers can now look to cloud-stored software to help organize, manage, research, and increase profitability on their farms. Co-Founders Jesse Vollmar and Brad Koch aim to change the way farmers keep and view their data, in the simplest and most effective way possible.

Based out of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Farmlogs was founded in January of 2012 by Jesse (CEO) and Brad (CTO) a year after the two graduated from Saginaw Valley State University. Read More

Software Platform Offers Free Management Solution to Small and Medium Size Dairy Farmers Worldwide

October 8, 2012 |

While working for a Uruguay-based multi-national software company, Eddie Rodriguez von der Becke, whose in-laws raise livestock in Argentina, realized that the same level of technology sophistication that he employed at his company could be used to develop a livestock management system to help his family’s operations run more smoothly and efficiently.

The solution that he came up with was Tambero.com, a free global software solution for agriculture and cattle management. Read More

Online Exchange Enables Local Food Buyers and Suppliers of all Shapes and Sizes to Unite and Transact

September 17, 2012 |

Local Food Systems Develops Software as a Service for all participants in the local value chainThe Internet has opened the door to many business relationships and transactions that otherwise would not have occurred. To encourage such transactions among the various participants in the local food sector, Local Food Systems, Inc. (LFS) of Philadelphia recently unveiled The LFS Exchange, a trading platform with process automation that allows buyers and suppliers of different shapes and sizes, from small to industrial scale, to do business within one online platform.

The company’s Exchange product, the LFS Exchange, enables buyers and suppliers who might not have process automation, inventory control tools, or products to connect, for example, to a high-volume buyer’s backend system, to seamlessly engage in business transactions. Read More

Free iPhone App Helps Dairy Farmers Milk Profits During Volatile Times

September 12, 2012 |

News Release — UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A free mobile app developed by Penn State researchers can help dairy farmers plow through financial planning by helping them track feed costs and income.

The DairyCents app, currently available on the Apple iPhone, helps farmers estimate income over feed cost per cow, a number that tells farmers how much money is left over to pay other expenses minus the feed costs, according to Virginia Ishler, nutrient management specialist and dairy complex manager in animal science. Another function compares feed prices in several locations across the country. Read More