Get on it farmer inventors, farmer researchers, farmer questioning everythingers..
Organic Farming Research Foundation Is Accepting Grant Proposals Through November 19, 2012
Since 1990, Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) has awarded hundreds of grants supporting exceptional research and education in organic farming. Organic farmers are some of the most innovative entrepreneurs in America who work tirelessly to meet a growing consumer demand.
The OFRF grant proposal deadline of November 19, 2012 is quickly approaching.
Thanks to our partnership with Seed Matters, proposals are being accepted for:
• Research in categories of organic seed quality or crop breeding.
• Education/outreach projects in categories of organic seed quality or crop breeding.
OFRF will make selections in March. Applicants will be notified by March 30, 2013. Submit a proposal if you wish to receive funding to improve organic research.
For more information, please contact the OFRF Grants Program.
Let’s cultivate BIG ORGANIC IDEAS,
This past weekend, Farm Hackers gathered at beautiful Ecovillage in Ithaca, New York for the biggest (and possibly baddest) Farm Hack yet.
Saturday featured live demos of various farm innovations operated, and in some cases developed by, local farmers, including a custom-built electric tractor, Japanese paper pot transplanter, and Cool Bot cooling system. The Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming’s brand new Incubator Farm served as a perfect demo space.
The first of Sunday’s workshops focused on grain and bean production and processing, hosted by Cayuga Pure Organics. Anne Riordan, farm and milling operations manager at CPO, gave a tour of the production and processing equipment that allows CPO to grow a variety of heirloom grain and beans, and clean and sort them on site. Robert Perry of NOFA-NY also gave a demonstration of his mobile grain processing unit.
The second Sunday workshop focused on farm shop basics, led by veteran farm hackers and fabricators Rob Rock of Pitchfork Farm and Ben Shute of Hearty Roots Community Farm. Ben and Rob introduced the group to the basic tools most useful to in a farm shop, and the techniques with which these tools could be put to use for farm hack projects.
And of course, a Farm Hack is never complete without the Design Charrette. The crowd broke out into six small groups, working on topics from automated control irrigation system for greenhouses to production of larvae for fish food. Notes and continuing conversation can be found in the Ithaca event forum. Several of the designs have already been posted to the Tools wiki page.
More event photos on the Greenhorns Flickr page!
The Farm Hack crew headed to NYC last weekend to participate in Maker Faire NYC, a gathering of inventors of all kinds, from 3d printers (there were a lot of those) to a bike-powered transplanter/weeder from Andy and Steve from Pedal Power, based out of Essex, NY. The Pedal Power group also brought their pedal-powered sewing machine and generator, which were very popular with young faire-goers. They were also popular with the media – Andy was featured in NPR’s coverage of Maker Faire on Morning Edition!
In addition to the pedal power crew, Rob Rock of Pitchfork Farms brought his greens washer and frame-mounted flame weeder from Vermont, and Audrey and Daniel of DB CO-OP, a new bike-powered design collective out of Brooklyn, brought their leaf shredder.
Here’s another resource for sustainable ag and appropriate technology learning, in handy dandy podcast format. Frank Aragona, also the Director of Research and Development at Holistic Management International, interviews people throughout the movement, focusing on permaculture and other strategies for community relocalization and ecosystem regeneration. There’s a blog too!
Collectors and preservationists in organizations such as the International Harvester Collector Club acquire old tractors, keeping the machines in working order and preserving the knowledge of how to do so. What if farmers actually started using these tractors? In her blog History at the Table , Cathy Stanton points out the untapped potential of these skilled mechanics. Instead of looking at old tractors as only a demonstration of past technologies and ways of living, we could be using the valuable tools and knowledge demonstrated at these shows for practical use.
Lots of other great posts in Cathy’s blog of relevance to Farm Hackers!
This tool is used to roll standing annual cover crops and crimp the stem to prevent regrowth and create a heavy mulch in place that can be planted through using no-till drills, planters and transplanters. This tool entry is based on the Rodale Institute’s open source design and is currently being manufactured by I&J equipment in Gap, PA.
Farmer and Farm Hack Intervale host Rob Rock is featured in an article in the independent publication Seven Days about the newly formed Vermont Makers community, a diverse group of farmers, programmers, educators, artists and others that are working to create organized meet-ups and work spaces for collaborative innovation.
Vermont hackers, artists and inventors are sharing ideas — and solving problems
Remember when geeks were uncool? John Cohn does. The 52-year-old IBM fellow recalls the disapproving look people shot him when, growing up, he told them he wanted to be an engineer. “I’ve spent my whole adult life trying to get other people interested in geekiness,” he says.
Looks like it worked — the Age of the Geek has arrived.
With the advent of the internet, open-source software, and increasingly affordable and accessible high-tech tools, making stuff isn’t just possible; it’s hip. Evidence of both qualities is in the pages of Make magazine, where readers find slouch-detecting belts and Star Wars deck chairs. You’ll even find instructions for do-it-yourself space exploration using homemade satellites. Yes, really.
Vermont’s “makers” — a term that originated in the early 2000s, meaning any amateur or professional inventor of physical objects — are farmers, programmers, artists, educators and kids. Whether they’re dreaming up Roomba-style contraptions to scare the deer from their fields or creating sound installations for a gallery, makers have a few things in common: curiosity; a renegade, DIY spirit; and a willingness — even eagerness — to share.
Read the whole article HERE
Bikes and bakers unite! The impressive people at Prairie Heritage Farm are hosting a Tour de Flour at the second annual Red Ants Pants Music Festival in White Spring, Montana on Sunday, July 29. Join the farmers for a demo of bike-powered flour, plus a discussion on the history of grain and why ancient and heritage grains–and fresh flour–are on the rise. There will be bike-powered flour time trials: If you grind the fastest, you win!
Great music and pedal-powered heritage grains? It can’t get much better than that.
The Victory Horticultural Library is an online, open-source repository for historical agricultural information and documents. The site was started by Victory Seeds and includes a variety of documents of practical and historical importance, not to mention being seriously cool.
One of these resources is a nearly complete catalog of USDA Farmers’ Bulletins from 1889. You must be a subscribing member of the site to view pdf versions of the bulletins (a worthy investment!), but many bulletins are also available in pdf format from the USDA’s National Agricultural Library’s Digital Collections.
The first Farm Hack event to hit the Midwest was a great success last week, spanning two days at University of Iowa in Iowa City and Echollective CSA in Mechanicsville.
Farmer Grant Schultz demo’d his electric tractor at Echollective, and Francis Thicke of Radiance Dairy presented on his use of various on-farm energy sources for decreasing energy use on his grass-fed dairy operation. Steve Fugate of I-Renew and the Yoderville Biodiesel Collective also presented on production and use of biodiesel from waste vegetable oil.
Several ideas came out of the design charrette, and the notes for the brainstorming have been posted to the Farm Hack Iowa forum thread. At least one group made plans to put their design into action following the hack.