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The Farm Hack project helps farmers learn, innovate and collaborate better.
Farm Hack is for all farmers, young and old, but has a special relevance to new farmers who are rapidly learning and trying new things, and are eager to innovate. Farm Hack is a community of collaboration that includes our website at farmhack.net with the blog, forum, and (soon to be) wiki housed there. It also includes in-person gatherings that help us to work together as farmers and with other allies who have skills to bring to our farms.
Free Access To Online Resources.
Farmhack.net is a part of the NYFC website that serves as an online community for farm innovation. The Farm Hack blog started last year, profiling tools and innovations that we found inspiring at other farms. This winter, a core team of Farm Hack planners has been working on expanding farmhack.net to include interactive web tools that we as farmers can use to develop farm tools, relationships and innovations, with an open-source ethic.
We have just opened up access to our Farm Hack Forum, where farmers and allies can discuss tool ideas and implementation.
Behind the scenes, we’ve been hard at work developing a wiki-based Tool Repository, where plans, descriptions and instructions for farm tools (new, old or in development) can be accessed and contributed.
We are seeking funding to implement the next steps of our website so we can launch in the coming months.
Farm Hack Events: the Sharing of Great Ideas!
Farm Hack Events bring together farmers and skilled allies for a weekend-long session of brainstorming, workshopping, and prototype-building collaborative design. This past year we had events at MIT, SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry in New York, and at Greenstart in New Hampshire, where we rolled up our sleeves to begin prototyping new farm tools like automated garlic trimmers, self-flushing irrigation valves, modular tine weeders built from bicycle spokes, and wireless greenhouse monitors. See farmhack.net for more information on our past events and to see what great ideas came out of them!
FarmHack offers farmers new opportunities to work together on tools and innovations that will make our farms more sustainable and efficient. We also seek to collaborate with engineers, designers, architects and other non-farmer allies who want to help strengthen sustainable agriculture.
As an open-source community we understand that we all profit from improving the tools we use to produce the food, and with this project we can collaborate instead of compete.
Mainstream agricultural research and development tries to solve farmers’ problems with top-down, chemical and energy-intensive inventions. FarmHack seeks to solve problems by helping our community of farmers to be better inventors, developing tools that fit the scale and their ethics of our sustainable family farms.
Of course, farmers for generations have developed their own tools and solutions in farm shops and in the field, and shared them with neighbors: tillage, transport, power generation, processing, seeding, and spinning. What’s new here is that FarmHack makes it possible to share these innovations with the entire community of farmers, and gives farmers the opportunity to support and improve upon one another’s ideas, across geographic boundaries.
The Principles of FarmHack:
- Cooperative innovation by farmers to address their farms’ challenges.
- Collaboration with allies such as designers + engineers.
- Research and development driven by the needs and insights of sustainable farmers.
- Bringing farmers and allies together face-to-face at Charrette Events on farms, in grange halls and at institutions.
- Idea sharing that is open source, over the internet and face-to-face.