Small-scale farmers and engineers “hack” the farm

field trip :: csa farm

Photo by knitting iris via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

This recent report from Clare Roth for Harvest Public Media takes us to the first Midwestern Farm Hack, recently held at the University of Iowa. The event brought together engineers and farmers to work together to begin addressing some of the technological problems that small-scale farmers face (like efficient weeding and harvesting).

While the two-day gathering includes farm tours and presentations about sustainable on-farm energy, the collaborative problem-solving process is the core ingredient of Farm Hack. Small-scale farmers bring in problems, the participants vote on which ones to tackle and then small groups rush to come up with solutions in two days. Afterwards, they’re posted to an online forum where anyone can collaborate on the idea….

[O]rganizers say they want the conference to be a starting point, not a product. Ben Shute, founder of Farm Hack, says the goal is to go beyond these one-off meetings and build a stronger, widespread community of small-scale farmers.

Check out the full audio here.

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