Local News

Davis brings together experts for first Farm Hack

By From page A1 | November 15, 2013

There’s an event underway in Davis this weekend that could become the start of the next big agricultural innovation — to the benefit of farmers far and wide.

Referred to as Farm Hack, the event will take place at Glide Ranch, 35366 Russell Blvd., on Friday and Saturday. It’s intended to provide a venue for engineers, graphic designers and other experts to collaborate with small-scale farmers, and together build better tools to increase their efficiency and productivity.

Farm Hack began as a project of the National Young Farmers Coalition in 2010, and has since evolved into a nonprofit that manages online design forums and hosts events throughout the country. The Davis event already has drawn enough interest that it is sold out.

Those attending have been invited to propose a project idea beforehand to be further developed this weekend. Projects submitted thus far include the development of an online marketplace for farmers, educational tools for year-round apiary management and new options for on-farm refrigeration.

Past Farm Hack events have provided impetus for the creation of a wide range of tools: aerial imagery devices that surveil farms, a greenhouse monitoring system and an electric tractor, for example.

After the participants spend Friday brainstorming, they may choose to continue prototyping their concept during the event’s optional second day. Saturday also will provide time for a showcase of the tools for local farmers.

Because the Farm Hack community emphasizes having its ideas be open-source, designs developed at the gathering will be documented and remain available for others to manipulate and build on.

Davis’ Farm Hack is sponsored by the National Center for Appropriate Technology and the Sustainable AgTech Innovation Center at UC Davis.

— Reach Brett Johnson at [email protected] or 530-747-8052. Follow him on Twitter at @ReporterBrett

Brett Johnson

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