At first glance, the maker movement might seem a world apart from the analog domain of soil, plants, and food. You can’t eat an Arduino after all. At least that’s what I thought.
While microcontrollers are indeed inedible, it’s exciting to see how makers are building devices and sharing technology that reaches into new areas that I thought stood outside a maker’s reach. Like food production.
Stereotypes of technophobe, straw-chewing farmers abound, but the truth is our food system is highly industrialized, mechanized, and computerized—overly so if you ask me. It’s also a largely closed, proprietary system that’s designed to keep the pesky public out. Strange, that something as fundamental to our existence as food would be largely hidden from view.
This system also makes it hard for new and young farmers to get into farming and to compete with big corporate farms when they do so. All that technology and R&D costs a lot of money.
Farm Hack is sticking a big wrench in the cogs of that system. Guided in equal parts by ideals of sustainability and open source, the nonprofit group has a developed a community of 20,000 members that develops, shares, tweaks, and hacks tools that make farming and food production accessible to all.