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Report back from FarmHack New Hampshire

We had an amazing weekend in southern New Hampshire-  touring an inspiring farm that’s a hotbed of innovation;  making headway on new project ideas;  and doing some serious strategizing about the development of the FarmHack project.  

The weekend began with a tour of Tuckaway Farm, focusing on the innovative tools and techniques that Dorn Cox has been integrating as part of his work with the host organization GreenStart.  We saw self-contained biodiesel processing rigs, one-pass no-till planting set-ups, farm-fabricated fence stretchers, and we worked on reverse-engineering an old oat dehuller.  

Dorn Cox shows off his self-contained biodiesel processing plant, built into an old beverage trailer.

The next day we reconvened at the Lee Grange Hall to roll up our sleeves and strategize about the future of FarmHack and to make some headway on designing new tools.  

There was much talk about FarmHack’s imminent launch of a new Web Forum to use as a space for discussion of new farm tool projects, knowledge exchange about existing technologies, and communication about standards for collaborative tool development (for example let’s all be on the same page regarding quick connects, power transfer, etc. so we can interchange our inventions.)  Some participants were even able to register early for the Forum and begin populating it with threads.  

Using an old fan mill on oats

Those oats that were de-hulled the night before?  We took a break from discussing new media tools in order to use an old-technology hand-crank fan mill to separate the hulls out.  Still works! (more…)

FarmHack comes to New Hampshire November 19+20

FarmHack New Hampshire will be the next in our series of all-day events bringing farmers together with inventors, engineers, designers and other specialists, to brainstorm + build together.  This event will focus in on harvesting, handling,  processing, and adding value to farm products.  

On Saturday, November 19th and Sunday, November 20th we will converge in Lee, NH.  First we will see some new tools in action at Tuckaway Farm, and deconstruct some older technologies to get at the heart of engineering ag tools.  Then we will work in teams to develop new project and tool ideas, with the goal of getting some working prototypes on our farms next season.  

More info is here, and RSVP is necessary!

Farmhack@ESF Update!

By Leanna Mulvihill

Plans for Farmhack@ESF are coming together! We’ve received positive responses from the SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry community, special thanks to the Environmental Resources Engineering department, and a few local farms are excited to participate as well. This event will be covered by Food + Tech Connect, a company that brings innovators in food and information technology together. The Saturday after Farmhack@ESF (September 17th!), is the Local Living Festival in Canton, NY on September 24th where Leanna Mulvihill will be giving a presentation on Farmhack@ESF and the designs that come out of it.

Ideas for possible designs are still needed! Farmers who would like to work with landscape architects, engineers, botanists and ecologists are highly encouraged to share their ideas. There are students and faculty eager to hear your point of view and collaborate. Please contact Leanna Mulvihill at lpmulvih@syr.edu.

 

Farm Hack Comes to SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

By Leanna Mulvihill

Farm Hack @ MIT Team sustainable cranberry bog

My name is Leanna Mulvihill and on September 17th, I’m bringing Farm Hack to my school — the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF) in Syracuse, NY. ESF is unique in that every course of study has an environmental focus. There are a lot of different flavors of science majors and other majors including: environmental studies, landscape architecture, construction management, bioprocess engineering and environmental resources engineering. As such, it is pretty easy to get students from a variety of programs excited about sustainable farming. This fall I will be a senior in environmental resources engineering and am
currently interning at Tantré Farm in Chelsea, MI.

Farm Hack @SUNY ESF will be a one-day event for farmers and designers of all varieties with the goal of creating relatively low-cost, easy to implement solutions for small scale farmers.

We need farmers with design ideas/farm tech challenges to pitch and people to help solve them . If you’ve got an idea burning a hole in your pocket, please let me know! The ideas will be presented in the morning and teams will be formed based on the interests/expertise of the participants. Each team will have the rest of the day to flesh out their designs with research, sketches and
rough prototypes. This will be from 10am until roughly 5pm and snacks will be provided. Some materials will be available and bring your laptops, we’ve got wireless.

Presentations of these designs will happen that evening from 6-8pm. If you can’t participate in the full day event or would just like to drop by and see what it is all about, please come to the evening presentations!

A similar event was held last spring at MIT. They came up with a triketor and a self-flushing irrigation valves Check it out!

Fam Hack @ MIT There were lots of ideas that included bicycle parts!

Details:

Farmhack@ESF – Saturday September 17th 2011 Nifkin Lounge, 1 Forestry Drive Syracuse, NY
13210, 10am-5pm

RSVP to lpmulvih@syr.edu

Post your design ideas on our Facebook event page (Farmhack@ESF) or email them.

Hope to see you there!

Report back from FarmHack@MIT

We had a great time at MIT, where we brought farmers, engineers and other thinkers together to invent things together. Here’s a play-by-play live blog of the day; here’s the video of the presentations of the day’s inventions.

After pitches of about 15 ideas, we self-organized into groups to work toward prototyping six projects:

  • an electric assist, super garden cart, multi-functional for tasks ranging from lie-down weeding to compost hauling and dumping;
  • the Trike-tor, a three-wheeled bike-based tractor;
  • a new model of sustainable cranberry production, featuring sustainable water management;
  • the next generation of cheap, farm built, modular tine cultivators;
  • food safety infrastructure, both software (record keeping) and hardware (wash tubs, sanitation sensors, water coolers), for small-scale farmers; and
  • a self-flushing, self-closing irrigation valve for the ends of sprinkler irrigation lines.

We’ll be working on getting posts up with more details about each project, and helping to facilitate taking these projects forward. Want to host a similar FarmHack event in your neck of the woods? Let us know at farmhack@youngfarmers.org, we want to do this all over the country. Thanks to everyone who made the MIT event a success!

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Follow along with FarmHack@MIT!

All are welcome to join us for a mixer and to hear the results of the day of farm hacking, and for a screening of the Greenhorns film, details above, no RSVP needed. We also hope to stream a live video feed of the results, presented at the end of the day (approx. 7pm), at this link.

Below are slides that guide you through the agenda for the full day’s event (currently full).

Farmhack@MITallowfullscreen=”true” width=”500″ height=”400″>

Join us for FarmHack @ MIT

On March 5th, we will be bringing together farmers and engineering students for a day of workshopping ideas and dreaming up new inventions.

It’s open to the public, and will have two components:

From 9am – 5pm we will roll up our sleeves and do some serious collaborating, idea generating, planning, and designing.  RSVP if you want to join in.

From 6pm – 9pm we will host an open-to-the-public social event at which we will highlight the outcomes of the day.

More details are at the event’s page!

FarmHack workshop at Young Farmers Conference

Farm Hackers. Photo credit and copyright Linda Kuo.

FarmHack hosted a workshop at the Young Farmers Conference at the Stone Barns Center in New York’s Hudson Valley at the beginning of December.  The room was overflowing and we were able to share lots of great ideas.

Josh Volk from Slow Hand Farm and Ben Shute from Hearty Roots Farm led the discussion.  We started out sharing some inventions with the crowd–  Ben showed a few FarmHack posts including the irrigation filter and the electric tractor conversion;  Josh explained his precision tine cultivator and his farm-built garden carts.   We also talked about how Google Sketchup can be used for designing farm tools and sharing the plans with others.

Then the whole group brainstormed ideas for tools that they thought should be profiled on FarmHack–  both ones that we have already built or seen on farms, or ones that we think need to be invented.  Here are a few: (more…)