A simple and brilliant idea for the DIY, anti-disposable, community-based hacker movement!
Repair Cafés are free meeting places and they’re all about repairing things (together). In the place where a Repair Café is located, you’ll find tools and materials to help you make any repairs you need. On clothes, furniture, electrical appliances, bicycles, crockery, appliances, toys, et cetera. You will also find repair specialists such as electricians, seamstresses, carpenters and bicycle mechanics.
Martine Postma organized the first Repair Cafe in 2007 in Amsterdam, and the idea has subsequently spread around the world. Local organizers host events, and they are posted and mapped on RepairCafe.org
Apitronics is an exciting start-up of Farm Hacker Louis Thiery, originally birthed from a Farm Hack NH greenhouse monitoring project. The Apitronics Kickstarter is live, and it’s great! You can pre-order Apitronics monitoring “bees” and help Louis get off the ground at the same time. He’s already a quarter of the way to his funding goal – help out a fellow Farm Hacker and get a useful new farm gadget!
About the Platform
Apitronics is a wireless platform designed for the outdoors. It includes a base station, or “Hive”, that coordinates a swarm of field-ready “Bees” which collect data and control switches.
What a Bee does depends on what sensors or switches you attach to its waterproof plug. Apitronics will be releasing more plugs as the platform matures. At one site, they are already doing some chicken coop monitoring, with a door sensor and a water level sensor. The system can send alerts if you forget to close the door or to bring water to the chickens!
Through the Kickstarter, Apitronics is offering user-ready systems with Bees connected to weather stations or soil humidity sensors. Louis also hopes that other developers will build off the platform and that a diverse ecology of products and other solutions will be built around the open architecture. By bringing open-source to farm electronics, Apitronics hopes to see more innovative solutions that are more farmer-driven.
More about the project at the Apitronics website
Visit the Kickstarter here
Farm Hack Davis – Come meet up for beers and conversation with fellow farmers and tinkerers at Plainfield Station outside of Davis!
Sunday, September 15th, 4–7 P.M., Plainfield Station
Hi folks! The Farm Hack Davis meet-ups are back for a bit as we continue to gear up for our big event in November. This coming Sunday, we’re going to talk about what nifty innovations have come out of other Farm Hacks around the country, including tools, gadgets, and relationships that they have fostered. Come hang out with your farmer neighbors and tinkerer friends that have an interest farming and food!
We are looking for folks who have problems to solve, inventions on the back burner, or tools to tweak, who want to share ideas with each other and other skilled craftspeople to see what comes out of it.
We’re getting ready to send out a call for proposals for farm-related design projects for the upcoming Farm Hack, so keep your eyes peeled! Come to the meet-up, look for the RFP or email us with your ideas.
Farm Hack Davis event will be November 16-17, 2013. Remember to save the date!
Hope to see y’all at Plainfield Station this coming Sunday, Sept 15th! Road Construction Note: (Rd. 29 is open, use CR 99 as 98 is still closed!)
Dear Farm Hack posse, help your fellow farm hackers get their hacks to Maker Faire NYC this fall!
Farm Hack is in an online voting competition for $2,500 so that we have a truck to take us to Maker Faire. Maker Faire is an expo of all things DIY. The truck will take a route from Cambridge, MA up to Burlington, VT hitting places in the Pioneer Valley and NH. Then towards NYC through the Hudson Valley, picking up all the Farm Hacks we can and to make it easier and more stress free for others to attend.
We attended Maker Faire last year with all sorts of great hacks, including a converted washing machine greens spinner, pedal powered compost chipper and flame weeder. It’s a great way for us to educate the general public about what we are doing, and to connect with the techie crowd that can help us create future farm hacks!
- the Farm Hack team
Main Street Farms is an urban aquaponics farm, organic plant nursery, and education center in Homer NY, devoted to sustainable agriculture and local food security. Main Street Farms collaborated with Louis Thiery of Apitronics on the prototype of FIDO, an arduino-powered greenhouse monitoring system. Our current farm is booming with veggies and Tilapia and now we are ready to expand!!
help out via kickstarter!
read more about Main Street Farms.
The folks over at Public Laboratory initially developed the Infragram camera, a near-infrared camera that assesses photosynthetic activity in plants, to empower citizen science monitoring of wetlands health in the Gulf after the BP oil spill. It turned out so great that they want to share it with others!
Through their current Kickstarter campaign, Public Labs are offering the Infragram to the wider public of farmers, hikers, gardeners and anyone else who wants some infrared insight into the plant world around them.
Check out the great project video and read more about the Infragram camera on the their Kickstarter page. You can get an Infragram of your own (or some other related gadgets) by pledging to the project.
Excerpted from the Two Spruce Farm blog, written by Northland apprentices Daniel Grover and Scott Hoffman. Read the whole post here.
The Quadractor, manufactured in the 1970s and 1980s by Traction, Inc. in Vermont. The quadractor has a vertical shaft gear train originally developed by William Spence for using in aircraft landing gear, who designer of the Quadractor and founder of Traction, Inc. The tractor operates through four identical vertical drives to the wheels, and is therefore continuously in four wheel drive. This drive design allows for the lightweight Quadractor (around 500 lbs) to pull loads up to two tons.
Spence wanted to create a tractor that was lower cost and that used less fuel than conventional tractors with comparable workloads, and be highly dynamic (also that had really good traction, hence the company name he came up with). Though the tractor been used most extensively for logging, it can be used with cultivating, rototilling and plowing implements that are attached underneath the tractor rather than behind, the weight of which are distributed to all four wheels.
Though the quadractor is no longer being manufactured, there is a community of users restoring, retrofitting and using the quadractor for their small farming operations, homestead and woodlots. These users can exchange and dialogue on the tractor, modifications and implements through a user Forum, hosted by the resource site Quadractor.com.
Read a more detailed account of the quadractor and its manufacture in this 1979 Mother Earth News article by Bill Rowan. Also check out the Quadractor site to access information, videos, and the user forum.
Ben Flanner, president and farmer at the NYC rooftop farm Brooklyn Grange (and co-host of Farm Hack NYC last fall), talks on this week’s Farm Report episode about different organizations and projects that are helping farmers create and innovate on their farms and share these designs and tools, and strategies the Grange has adopted to grow productively in a limited rooftop space. And read up on the Farm Hack NYC meetup and build project he mentions in the forum!
“Farmers are super collaborative…we are all about that. In terms of specific farming type things, thats all completely shared, open source, you put as much time as you possibly can to people, especially farmers and aspiring farmers.”
You likely have heard of Kiva.org, a micro-lending site that lends to the entrepreneurial projects of individuals in developing countries through crowdsourced financing.
A year-old project of Kiva is Kiva Zip, which flips the tables. Through Kiva Zip, individuals in the United States (and Kenya) can apply for an interest-free loan up to $5,000 for their project. This tool could be great for farmer-entrepreneurs with a well-developed innovation idea that want to market their innovation to others, and that need startup capital to bring this project online.
One Farm Hacker has already used Kiva Zip to do this – Louis Thiery, co-developer of the FIDO greenhouse monitor, applied for and received a $5000 loan through the service to produce 100 initial units of the Fido monitor. This loan allowed him to build the original FIDO unit, and also develop a second improved iteration, now called the Sentinel Bee, through his new business Apitronics.
To receive a Kiva zip loan, you must apply through a Kiva Zip Trustee, whom you can locate on the site. You also need to prove your business plan is viable, and be vouched for.
If you are applying for a loan, let us know at info [at] farm hack [dot] net, and we can vouch for your project! Once you are approved, your project is then posted to the site, where users (hopefully) crowd fund your project. The great thing about the Farm Hack community is that we can use our network to get out the word about projects, and ensure they get fully funded. Use that farm hack community capital!
Find more info about Kiva Zip on their website.