Video: a proof of concept for a open source circular economy

This post was originally posted on the P2P Foundation blog.

photo of Michel Bauwens

Michel Bauwens

19th December 2015

 

“POC21 was an international innovation community, that started as an innovation camp. The camp brought together 100+ makers, designers, engineers, scientists and geeks. In late summer 2015, we joined forces in a stunning French castle to prototype a fossil free, zero waste society. Our ultimate goal was to overcome the destructive consumer culture and make open-source, sustainable products the new normal. Over the course of 5 weeks we developed 12 sustainable lifestyle technologies and built an international community of innovators and supporters, that continues to grow.”

This is short documentary on that amazing project, which I had the chance to visit myself for three days.

Watch the video here:

Stay in touch! sign up for the POC21 newsletter (poc21.cc), follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/POC21cc) or like our Facebook page (facebook.com/POC21/). Thanks to Sam Muirhead of cameralibre.cc

Source: Video: a proof of concept for a open source circular economy

Extracts from Platform Cooperativism Conference

platform cooperativism logo. all lowercase with the second and third letters of the second word—both the letter O—intertwined, forming a shape similar to the symbol of initity. Last month The New School in New York City hosted a conference that billed itself as a “coming-out party for the cooperative Internet,” called platform cooperativism. The conference’s central themes emerge from critical reflection on the rise of the so-called sharing economy and its implications for the economy (e.g., the wellbeing of workers) as well as the Internet (e.g., how Net-enabled services are designed and owned). At first this conceit may not seem germane to Farm Hack and its concerns with innovation and exchange in agriculture, perhaps because the services many “sharing economy” companies provide—micro-tasks; car rides; etc.—don’t seem relevant. Although the ethical and regulatory questions such companies elicit may not be relevant to agriculture, apposite research about alternatives to the new status quo—peer-based production and cooperation—is. J. Nathan Matias and Katie Arthur of the MIT Center for Civic Media liveblogged much of the conference, including discussion about research into these topics. What follows are some interesting extracts from their posts.

Arthur covered a session on “Conditions of Possibility,” in which activist and academic Mayo Fuster Morell cited new data [1] on the evolution of commons-based peer production and its extension from “classic cases including Wikipedia and FLOSS (Free/Libre and Open Sourced [sic] Software” into areas such as citizen media, gaming, and sensor networks.

Matias covered a session on “Threats and Challenges to Cooperative Economies,” which featured Harvard Law School professor Yochai Benkler, a theorist and commentator on the digital commons and networked economy, as a panelist. The following points Benkler hit on caught my attention:

  • platform cooperativism doesn’t necessarily address the issue that our economy is entering—or in—a new era of transition in which we’re not only automating work, but assigning more of it to machines. IMO—not Benkler’s—this underscores the importance of leveraging the commons to facilitate the spread and exchange of knowledge—Farm Hack’s raison d’être—so that technology remains a source of empowerment.
  • Benkler encouraged thinking about “co-op alliances” and urged “people to commit to an open commons. The only thing that will make platform cooperativism work, he argues, will be a shift in ideologies, beliefs about what is right and wrong. It means thinking about an open commons for service models, material goods, data portability, and open access.”

How will a commitment to the commons inflect the design of organizational formats for agriculture that are both collaborative and commercial in nature? Thoughts welcome.

[1] From the P2P Value Directory: http://directory.p2pvalue.eu/.

 

 

 

FarmOS: A Drupal-based farm management solution

This article was originally posted on opensource.com

Posted 24 Nov 2015 by 

Image credits :

Mike Stenta. CC BY-SA 4.0.

FarmOS is a Drupal-based software project aimed at easing the day-to-day management of a farm. It allows different roles to be assigned to managers, workers, and viewers. Managers can monitor how things are going with access to the whole system, workers can use the record-keeping tools, and viewers have read-only access to, for example, certify the farm’s records.

I spoke with Mike Stenta, lead developer of farmOS and active developer since 2010, and he had a number of reasons for using Drupal and putting their files, code, and documentation on GitHub.

“I settled on Drupal for farmOS because I see it as a good intersection of flexibility, scalability, and community,” Stenta said. “It uses a modular architecture, so you can build applications in Drupal like building Legos. The community is huge, and the number of contributed modules and themes is mind-boggling. If you can think of it, you can probably build it in Drupal—and chances are someone already has.”

FarmOS's Mike Stenta

Fourteen modules are currently being developed, including Farm Access, Farm Admin, Farm Asset, Farm Crop, and more.

“The focus right now is laying a strong groundwork so that others can more easily join in and contribute,” Stenta said. “The world of agriculture wasn’t even on my radar until 2008. I started college in computer science, but switched to art and photography—partly because web development wasn’t in the curriculum. After college I found my way to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. There I worked as a farm apprentice. Then I came back to the east coast. In 2010, I helped my friend start a small CSA in Connecticut, and the philosophy of food and cultivation sank in deeply over those years. It shaped my direction profoundly.”

Then, he had the inspiration for farmOS. It came from some software he developed for the CSA. To take it to the next level he started generalizing his work, which led to the creation of the modules that are the core of farmOS today. Stenta is also working on a general ledger module for Drupal, which is a double-entry accounting system similar to popular proprietary products.

The community surrounding the project is important too, and farmOS is looking for beta testers and other contributors to the project.

“FarmOS is developed by a handful of contributors, and more are getting involved steadily,” Stenta said. “Community is everything, and it’s important to foster good communication and planning in any open source project. We publish monthly roadmaps and invite people to help. All the planning and task management is done in the Drupal issue queues and on GitHub, so it’s transparent and accessible. The monthly development meetings are a new experiment we’re trying to invite more people into the conversation. The project is still very young, but the interest has been huge and it’s starting to take on a life of its own.”

Farm Hack Newsletter: Welcome to the shiny new Farm Hack tool library!

Shiny New Tool Library at farm hack.org!

After receiving a SARE grant in partnership with UVM this past spring to improve functionality of our Tool documentation platform, this summer has been a big web development push for Farm Hack.  We have just launched a re-design of the Tools section of the website. The new version is intended to make both documenting tools and finding the tool you are looking for easier and more effective.

New Tool Library Features:

  • New look!
  • Smartphone and tablet friendly
  • Improved Tool Search functionalities
  • Easier documentation process
  • New “like” and “I have built this” buttons on tool pages

Farm Hack @ Ruskin Mill Video (Gloucestershire, UK)

New Farm Hack Network Calendar

The new Calendar page integrates Farm Hack events as well as other events hosted by other  the Northeast Food Knowledge Ecosystem (NEFKE) coalition.

Event Report: Culticycle @ the Draft Animal Powered Field Days

Culticycle enthusiasts and teamsters convened at the Draft Animal Powered Field Days in September, hosted by the Draft Animal Power Network to discuss the intersection of human and draft powered farming systems and tools. What type and amount of power is needed for different tools or tasks on the farm, and how can draft or human-powered systems supplant fossil fuel-powered ones? These questions embody the first design principle of the Farm Hack community, “Biology before steel and diesel.”

Most equipment manufacturers stopped building tools for horse and oxen farming around the middle of the 1900s. Farmers who wish to continue farming with draft animals innovate and invent tools appropriate for their purposes…..keep reading on the Farm Hack Blog

Get More Involved with Farm Hack

Developers
We are always looking for developers to join in on current and future projects. We meet weekly through Google Hangout on Thursday evenings. Contact info@farmhack.net if you want to join the call.

Documenters
There are heaps of useful tools out in the world that don’t exist on farm hack! Know some tools or some inventive farmers? Reach out to help them document! Then follow the steps on the Add a Tool page.

Event Organizers
Do you want to host a Farm Hack in your area? It’s not so hard with some help from local partners, farmers and Farm Hack’s Event Organizing wiki.

On the Blog:

Hand labor, tractor labor and horse labor: a question of power and scale

Peter & Jelmer with the Melotte

Leave a reply

By Jelmer Albada

This article appeared in the Spring 2015 issue of the Small Farmer’s Journal (Vol. 39 No. 2). Thank you to Jelmer Albada and Stephen Leslie for providing access to the text in digital form.

When considering the potential utility of draft animal power on the modern 21st century farm, I like to begin from the perspective of examining those farm models where all the work was done by hand. That hand work was done with a lot of care and precision and with great attention to detail towards the soil and the crops (these methods persist in our times in small scale community gardens and among some subsistence farmers). I have heard about, read about, and also have first-hand experience practicing these cultural gardening techniques involving hand labor and find it useful and inspiring to use these methods as a springboard from which to examine where draft animal power can be most useful and where the hand work can readily be improved upon. My conclusion is that there are many areas where a horse can do a better job in replacing the hand work, and that live horse power will usually not be ”over-kill”, as could be the case by introducing a tractor into a relatively small-scale operation. In this light, the horse could be viewed as a four-legged employee of the farm, always ready to take on the big and small jobs.

What I am saying in other words, is that there are different methods to the goal of an efficient system that stewards the soil, harvests healthy crops, and does not over-tax the human labor…Keep reading on the Farm Hack blog