GOAT 2024 Program

GOAT is an unconference (days 1 – 3), where the schedule and activities are determined on site by participants, following the groups unique mix and interests.  We roughly following GOSH’s Community Events Framework –> https://openhardware.science/gosh-community-events-framework/.

GOAT 2022 also has a Team Days (days 4 – 5), which is an opportunity for organizations to use the conference to organize too.  Organizations can use time during the Team Day to have a retreat, brainstorm with the community, do design or feature reviews, or whatever else they want!  Learn more here.

Link to the Methods Zine by Ankita Raturi and Prateek Mondan.

Code of Conduct

Program Details

TBD Coming by August 9th!

Late Night Worksessions

Ad hoc sessions coalesced in the café Tuesday evening outside the formal schedule! There was a Decision Support Tool for Decision Support Tools planning group and a Co-op and Mutuals discussion group.

Artifacts

To find photos, additional documentation, files, and other fun stuff, check out the GOAT2022-Public folder: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1UQz7zQ61WfBmQuX0W-OcxEl9vGKuopNo

Read More >
GOAT 2024

GOAT 2024

August 30th is the last day to register for GOAT 2024!

GOAT 2024 will be a 5 day gathering of diverse developers and users of open ag technology. Technology is broadly defined, and includes both traditional hardware and software, but also mechanical tools (tractors, implements, etc.) and any domains relating to the creation of that hardware (intellectual property + open licenses, data management, model development, etc.).

Why?

For the motivations behind GOAT, see the About GOAT page.

This third in-person gathering will reconvene the open ag tech community to meet, learn, share, and formalize our common vision for creating open technologies for our food system.

Much of this gathering will have an unconference format so that the topics discussed are derived directly from the values and needs of the attendees. During the unconference format, members of the ag tech community will “take off their institutional hats” and participate simply as members of the open-ag-tech community. The objectives of structured components of the gathering include completing our community manifesto, introducing the governance structure and begin nominations for the biannual board, creating a curriculum for how to engage in work within the community, and scheduling future hackathons. Finally, we will have a demo session in which attendees “put their institutional hats back on.”

The last two days of the conference are designated for co-working. This time is for attendees to start working on actionable items inspired by the conference or enabled by the conference because we are all co-located! More details about co-working days, and how to sign up to host an activity can be found in the program and application form.

When?

Applications close – Deadline passed but rolling applications may still be accepted pending space and funding –> Apply Now!

Acceptance Notices – Rolling acceptances through August 30, 2024

Full program available – August 9th 2024.

Conference – Mon – Friday, November 4th – November 8th, 2024. Registration + Soft Opening + Lodging on Sunday, November 3rd.

Where?

The 2024 conference will be held at the beautiful Paicines Ranch.

Who should apply?

Apply Here! We’re looking for people who are actively engaged in open hardware and software for agriculture as developers, users, inventors, tinkerers and thinkers who can contribute to growing the community and movement. This event is for people working in all different forms of ag tech, from farmers/DIYers to academic research and industrial R&D. Let us know who you are, why you want to attend, and your vision for open ag tech! Forward this application to people you think would be great additions to the GOAT community. We hope to select a combination that will best represent the diversity of projects in the open ag tech movement. Note on GOAT 2024 demographic goals: In the application form we are asking about demographics because we are working to make GOAT 2022 as representative of the movement as possible, democratic and equitable. What do we mean by equitable? Check out this visual reference to equality vs. equity. While we are accepting applications from outside North America, we cannot provide extensive support for complex visa applications. Be aware that you are responsible for paperwork related to getting to the US if accepted. We hope to make the conference more international in the future as we have more organizers and more funding.

What is the cost?

We don’t have any major grants backing us. As such we are encouraging those who can afford to pay for registration to do so. Registration includes lodging, but not travel. We will be creating a small donation pool to provide travel offsets for those who cannot afford registration. The registration tiers are as follows:

  • Full cost-applicant (e.g., folks with funding from industry, gov, academia): $700 registration
  • Reduced cost-applicant (e.g., folks with limited funding): $500 registration
  • Need-based no-cost applicant: $0 registration
  • Need-based no-cost applicant (US only): $0 registration + I need travel support

You have the option to bring family members for the week ($700/week/per person). We hope this makes it easier for everyone to participate in hack sessions after the conference without messing up family schedules. If you are a reduced-cost or need-based application, please contact us to inform us you need support for this as well: goatech.org@gmail.com. If you or your organization has the means to sponsor a need-based no-cost applicant, please see our sponsorship memo.

Can I get involved / volunteer before the conference?

Yes! We will be posting pre-conference activities and volunteer positions in August 2024. See the forum for details. If you have ideas or suggestions on programming (speakers, activities, nearby locations to visit, etc.) that you think are a great fit, please contact: goatech.org@gmail.com! We are still actively setting the program and activities.

Who is organizing GOAT 2024?

The organizing committee for GOAT 2024 is:

  • Ankita Raturi, Purdue University
  • Greg Austic, OurSci
  • Juliet Norton, Purdue University
  • Paul Weidner, FarmOS

Can I help support or sponsor GOAT 2024?

Yes, as a community-led organization your support keeps us going!  If you are interested in supporting or sponsoring GOAT 2024, please contact: goatech.org@gmail.com.

Read More >

GOAT:Hack @ Organic 2022

 

Mission

Screenshot of workadventure environment in which we are hosting the hackathon.
Workadventu.re is the environment in which we are hosting the hackathon.

The goal of a Hack@Organic is to bring together a multidisciplinary cohort of researchers, designers, developers, and agricultural practitioners to develop equitable, open source technical infrastructure that enables research, adoption, and evaluation of organic agricultural practices.

When: Feb 24-26, 2022

Where: Virtual on the Workadventu.re platform. Get familiar with Workadventu.re in our FAQ.

 

 

Sign up here

 

Background

The Gathering for Open Ag Tech (GOAT) is an ad-hoc gathering of technologists and agriculturalists to collaborate, and create a vision for a fully open agricultural future. GOAT members endeavor to support ag-related organizations (including ARS) trying to solve technical problems while keeping it free and open.

The Organic Center’s mission is non-profit research and education organization, that aims“to conduct and convene credible, evidence-based science on the environmental and health effects of organic food and farming and communicate the findings to the public”.  They seek to empower people with scientific information on organic food and agriculture.

Collaborations like these are a democratic way to shape the tools that shape us all. With Hack@Organic, we will be growing our collective capacity to build the technologies and relationships needed to care for our communities in the critical years to come.

Program

View the GOAT: Hack@Organic Agenda here!

 

How GOAT:Hack Works

Registration

Pre-GOAT:Hack

  • Sign up for the GOAT Forum and post your project and recruit more team members there. If you’re looking for a project to join, this is where you’ll find them!
  • Coordinate with your project partners before you turn up. Set a scope that can be completed in 3 days, identify a potential technology stack. You’ll be adding this information to the hackathon repository on the first day.
  • Identify other skill sets needed on your team so you can recruit last-minute team members on the first day of the hackathon.
  • Identify work blocks for your team before and/or after the organized hackathon hours (9am-2pm PT).

@GOAT:Hack

  • Show up and hack away! The organized hackathon hours are 9am-2pm PT.
  • Ensure you are hacking in accordance with our code of conduct.
  • Attend the Setting the Tone! We have a very special guest to get us in the right mindset.
  • Present to the community.
  • Incorporate mentor feedback.
  • We’re encouraging folks on the Eastern coast or early risers to meet in WorkAdventu.re from 6-9am PT, and folks on the Western coast or night owls to meet in WorkAdventu.re from 2-5pm PT.

Post-GOAT:Hack

  • Make a plan to continue work with your project partners.
  • WorkAdventu.re is free to use, so you can create a world and workspace specifically for your team post-hackathon.
  • Go home happy and accomplished!

 

FAQ

How can I participate?

Sign up to attend here, describing your interest in agriculture and technology. After that follow the pre-conference instructions on this page.

What is the expected time commitment?

You get what you put in. A compelling project will require commitment from all team members, so be prepared to spend most of your work day working on your project.

Is this mostly hardware, software, or what?

All of the above, but primarily leaning toward the development of information tools. So everything from: new sensors for on-farm data collection, new ways to visualization resource flows, mechanisms to handle data interoperability, to ways to connect existing open source software to support sustainable agricultural practices.

How do teams work?

You should come with an idea and a team (one or many), but it’s completely ok to switch teams, adjust teams, or even adjust whole ideas once you get here. This is a outcome-focused hackathon – we care only that we make the most compelling stuff for the open-agriculture technology community we possibly can! Here is an example hackathon group formation:

  • Problem owner and/or domain expert
  • Designer and/or architect
  • A couple of developers across the stack
  • Maybe a document writers /slide maker / coordinator 

Where do I find out about potential team projects?

We’re asking people with potential project ideas to post their ideas on this GOAT forum post (link is external) so that everyone can start thinking about what teams they’d like to join, and have conversations ahead of time about the ideas. You can also look at the pitch sign-up sheet to see all the titles of projects that will be pitched.

I don’t code — what about me?

It completely depends on your project. The goal here is to create something compelling to the community. It is entirely possible to create a compelling data schema, or build out a compelling front-end design for a common application. While coding certainly helps, it is not required. Though, as stated before, you do need to have an idea coming in!

What if I don’t have a team?

If you want to come but don’t have a team or an idea, you are still welcome to register! You will either join an existing team or form a new one with others, we will help facilitate.

How do I get there – to Work Adventu.re?

We’ll be using Work Adventu.re for the event, a fun (and simple) platform to hang out and work that kind of looks and feels like you’re in a 90’s video game. Here are some tips for using Work Adventure, although it’s pretty intuitive and you’ll probably figure it out on your own within a few minutes:

  • When you join you’ll be assigned a random avatar. You can modify your avatar (and even add a pet) by clicking the coffee cup symbol in the upper left- hand side of the screen.
  • Use the arrows to move your avatar around the virtual world.
  • Access the settings on the upper left-hand side of your screen by clicking the coffee cup (this is also where you can edit your avatar), and click on the envelope icon to chat with people you are near.
  • When you walk near someone, a video chat will open with them and you can talk directly to one another.
  • If you enter a room, you’ll automatically be entered into a group video chat with everyone in the room. You can control your speaker/video camera and access the chat in the lower right-hand side of the screen.
  • If you walk near the computer, an info box will automatically pop up on your screen and you can learn more about Work Adventure.

You’ll need to register to get the log-in link.  

 

 

Read More >

GOAT 2020

Currently being re-imagined as a distributed, virtual conference. More soon.

Read More >

GOAT:Hack @ USDA ARS 2019

Mission

  • To bring together a multidisciplinary cohort of researchers, designers, developers, and agricultural practitioners working on public agricultural technologies.
  • To enable open access to data and tools resulting from public agricultural research.
  • To develop open source technical infrastructure that enables research, adoption, and evaluation of sustainable agricultural practices.

We invite members of the Gathering for Open Ag Tech (GOAT), USDA Agricultural Research Service, informatics researchers, research data scientists, and members of the public to come together and build open agricultural technologies that support our continued transition to sustainable solutions.

When: April 4 & 5, 2019
Where: USDA-ARS Beltsville Agricultural Research Center

Background

The Gathering for Open Ag Tech (GOAT) is an ad-hoc gathering of technologists and agriculturalists to collaborate, and create a vision for a fully open agricultural future. GOAT members endeavor to support ag-related organizations (including ARS) trying to solve technical problems while keeping it free and open.

The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s research agency, where we focus on “finding solutions to agricultural problems that affect Americans every day from field to table.” Within USDA-ARS, the Sustainable Agricultural Systems Lab includes a team of scientists developing technical infrastructure crucial to agricultural research. For example, we are working on farmer-facing decision support tools, designing elements of a data pipeline to enable large-scale participatory research (CROWN project), and geoinformatics tools to improve people’s experience of interfacing with government data, models, tools, and services.

How GOAT:Hack Works

Application

  • Applications closed. You’ll receive an invitation with specific event details.
  • Sign up for the GOAT Forum and post your project and recruit more team members there.
  • For more information contact:
    • Ankita Raturi (USDA ARS): ankita.raturi@ars.usda.gov
    • Brian Davis (USDA ARS & UMD): brianwdavis@gmail.com

Pre-GOAT:Hack

@GOAT:Hack

  • Show up and hack away!
  • Present to the community.

Post-GOAT:Hack

  • Make a plan to continue work with your project partners.
  • Go home happy and accomplished!

Program

Thursday, April 4
9:00 – 11:00 – Introductions, review of hackathon process, project pitches, group formation, timeline formulation.
11:00 – 6:00 – Work on projects!

Friday, April 5
9:00 – 9:30 – Updates/announcements, quick progress and plan of action reports
9:30 – 3:00 – Work on projects and create presentations
3:00 – 4:00 – Final project presentations
4:00 – 5:00 – coordinate next steps and establish collaboration pathways

FAQ

How can I participate?

Submit your application here, describing your interest in agriculture and technology. We will review your application, provide feedback, and if all goes well, send an invitation to participate.

What is the expected time commitment?

You get what you put in. A compelling project will require commitment from all team members. We ask that you aim to commit 100% of your time for these two days to the Hackathon. We understand if people need to take a call, attend a meeting, etc., but you probably won’t be successful unless you dedicate most of everyone’s time to working together!

Example projects:

  • Researchers at ARS are involved in a multi-institutional on-farm research project and currently sense and sample soil moisture, cover crop quantity and quality, nitrogen dynamics, and crop population and yield across over 80 farms. What data collection, aggregation, and visualization tools can we develop or connect to enable the modernization of their existing research data pipeline? What are the key elements of a re-configurable agricultural research data pipeline that need to be developed?
  • There are many use cases for open agricultural technologies that require representation of plants: from farmers picking a crop species to plant and tracking a plant as it transform from seed to maturity to researchers managing large breeding projects. However, many tools utilize their own taxonomies, ontologies, vocabularies, etc. Can we develop a plant data service, including an information architecture, to serve up structured plant data?
  • There is a plethora of open agricultural data available, however, it is difficult to know what is available, where to find it, and how to use it. Several initiatives exist to inventory, archive, or serve up open agricultural data. What contributions can we make to these initiatives, from Data.gov to the National Ag Library’s Ag Data Commons? Are there opportunities to develop domain-appropriate APIs to, for instance, NOAA weather data?

Is this mostly hardware, software, or what?
All of the above, but primarily leaning toward the development of information tools. So everything from: new sensors for on-farm data collection, new ways to visualization resource flows, mechanisms to handle data interoperability, to ways to connect existing open source software to support sustainable agricultural practices.

How do teams work?

You should come with an idea and a team (one or many), but it’s completely ok to switch teams, adjust teams, or even adjust whole ideas once you get here. This is a outcome-focused hackathon – we care only that we make the most compelling stuff for the open-agriculture technology community we possibly can! Here is an example hackathon group formation:

  • Problem owner and/or domain expert
  • Designer and/or architect
  • A couple of developers across the stack
  • Maybe a document writers /slide maker / coordinator

I don’t code — what about me?

It completely depends on your project. The goal here is to create something compelling to the community. It is entirely possible to create a compelling data schema, or build out a compelling front-end design for a common application. While coding certainly helps, it is not required. Though, as stated before, you do need to have an idea coming in!

What if I don’t have a team?

If you want to come but don’t have a team or an idea, you are still welcome to apply! You will either join an existing team or form a new one with others, we will help facilitate. Please note that this is a goal-oriented hackathon – we will not have lots of mentors walking around supporting teams, and a lot of the work will be quite focused.

How do I get there?

In general, if you’re far away, fly into either BWI, DCA, or IAD. If you fly into BWI or IAD you’ll need to get a ride to the Beltsville area or hop between a couple of transit options. There is a direct metro from DCA to the Beltsville area. If you’re within 7 – 8 hour drive just drive – the flight + rental may not be worth it.

Where should I stay and get to/from the GOAT:Hack venue?

We recommend staying in Silver Spring, College Park, or Beltsville itself. Your invitation to participate will include a link to a spreadsheet to coordinate housing and rides, as well as a list of recommended places to stay.

What will I eat?

When you submit your application, please include your food restrictions. We will be supplying breakfast & lunch. We can make recommendations for dinner places on the day!

What should I bring?

Bring whatever you need to work on your project, and anything else you think may come up. Definitely a computer, cords, cables for hardware, cool stickers, the usual. If you have a wireless hotspot, you may want to bring one to deal with the traffic. More info will be in your invitation letter 🙂

What about travel reimbursements?

Sorry, we don’t have reimbursements available at this time, but if you need one to come let us know and we’ll keep an eye out for funding.

Read More >

Gathering for Open Agricultural Technology: Propellant for Innovation

Dorn Cox, Ph.D., research director, Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment
Mike Komp, spatial technologies program manager, Noble Research Institute, LLC
Dennis Buckmaster, Ph.D., professor of agricultural and biological engineering, Purdue University

Ag technology is at an exciting crossroads. Demand to improve our global agricultural systems has drawn focus from venture capitalists who recognize the time is ripe for innovation in agricultural information technology, which has revolutionized so many other sectors.

The 2018 Gathering for Open Agricultural Technology (GOAT) event in Rhinebeck, New York, launched a new approach to problem-solving and collaborative research and development.  The invited attendees represented more than 70 open agricultural tools and a mapped technical ecosystem. GOAT represents the technical community and working groups to not only provide strategic technical insight into tool development but also link in with global open-data efforts such as Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition.

The GOAT community organized 22 working sessions during three days that resulted in six actively emerging “hotspots:”

  1. Sensing and control: hardware, remote sensing, Internet of Things sensors and robotics.
  2. Strategies for scaling open-source agriculture technology support and manufacturing.
  3. Innovations in crop planning, sales and marketing software.
  4. Interoperability of products, data standards, data content, and data and cultural practices.
  5. Communication of environmental performance: blockchain applications, verification and measurement.
  6. Community and values: food culture, food security, data access, teaching and learning.

As participating organizations, we wanted to share some of our perspectives.

Interoperability: Interoperable data for agricultural products, and activity tracking and decision-making is a genuine need and significant challenge.

Interoperability can eliminate the need to re-enter data into multiple systems, align data based on geo-references or time stamps, and fully contextualize product information and machine or worker activities. Potentially the largest gain will be to enable machine learning and optimized systems because of a data infrastructure that makes new algorithms and artificial intelligence possible. Interoperable data can also facilitate agricultural work as we move across lands, brands, enterprises, firms and stakeholders. Open solutions that build the behind-the-scenes infrastructure will be much more effective because of the complexities involved in aspects of firms and technology.

Many existing decision support tools operate in isolation from each other, and data interoperability is not a goal as these tools are developed. Adoption of open data and technology standards by technology developers could lead to more useful application program interfaces (APIs), integrated solutions, and ultimately the ability for farmers and ranchers to use data from many sources cohesively. Similar efforts have attempted this in the past and all have failed. However, with new technologies that allow for agile development of solutions, now may be the time when this could succeed.

While there is great promise, interoperability problems from walled-garden-type software and agriculture data remain. Most farm management platforms cannot interact with each other in meaningful ways. Data gathered via remote sensing are rarely used in concert with information gathered on the ground — especially data collected by farmers themselves for their own operations. There is no standard agricultural data structure that drives the ability to exchange information as there is in the medical industry. This severely limits farmers’ and ranchers’ ability to use information and technology in powerful ways and realize the benefits of the data they already collect and control.

Open-Source Development: During the past few years, we have operated our research and innovation group with an open-source approach and have found that collaborative culture and peer coaching spawn rapid and effective innovation. Online collaboration tools improve communication and enable fewer meetings. The team approach builds critical work-style skills for those involved and also extends the reach of each participant as they have a better appreciation of individual contributions  to efforts that could never be accomplished alone. Indeed, innovation requires a suitable ecosystem.

A key to the success of these standards is the ability to demonstrate the value of participation to technology developers. Moving toward a standard set of API protocols would allow for integrated solutions and more adoption of original data products that are difficult to sell individually. This requires relationship cultivation to understand how technologies leveraged together could enhance the value of individual data products. For example, many remote sensing and in-field sensors exist to provide individual pieces of data (i.e., soil moisture, normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), percent bare ground, forage biomass, thermal properties), but these solutions do not converge in ways that provide the big picture in an actionable way to farmers and ranchers.

The challenge in doing this revolves around making the business case for all involved parties: farmers, ranchers, technology developers, hardware manufacturers and society. The best solutions will involve common ground among all these parties and move forward while still addressing the big-picture issues that face agriculture, such as land stewardship and soil health.

A key benefit of open-source development is the better education and training of the incoming digital workforce. Rapid innovation requires knowledge in the application area, a skill set rooted in collaboration and adequate knowledge regarding an appropriate tech stack; actual collaboration is required to advance these in concert. Most times, that collaboration requires long-distance relationships.

Agricultural producers and technologists will increasingly need to learn to work collaboratively to create solutions. Event presenters also freely shared different hardware and software solutions to specific tasks and decisions. Even with skilled participants, everyone learned something from others who tackled issues in a novel manner.

The event was supported by countless open-source software projects, such as the Discourse website (goatech.org) and forum, which enabled collaborative, thorough documentation of key developments and ideas. Introductions led to conversations, which soon grew to relationships. It is clear that goatech.org will facilitate genuine collaboration needed to rapidly advance in areas of sensing and control, software for agriculture, data and interoperability, and communicating environmental performance.

Decision Tools for Agriculture

We see the opportunity to build an open architecture for agricultural technology that will help the next generation of agricultural producers to be empowered by research and innovation. When looking at the technology ecosystem the event participants brought to the table, it’s obvious that solutions to move toward more integrated decision support tools already exist.

We feel it is necessary to support innovation at all scales and support diverse operations that can scale globally and democratize access to tools. This event was a step to unlock the technical revolutions that are lowering the economies of scale in communication, analytics and observation technology, and delivering access to markets and improved market efficiency through lower automation costs at all scales. We feel the next agricultural revolution will be knowledge-intensive. We see the potential for a technology ecosystem that can build the underlying tools used by Midwest row crop producers; farmers and ranchers; landowners; urban market gardeners; and developing-world, small-holder producers.

Disruptive technologies like Internet of Things, drones, blockchain, machine learning and artificial intelligence represent a powerful toolbox that will revolutionize and democratize access to knowledge about our food systems. How we use these new technologies together to improve agriculture will define generations to come.

Could open-source, community-driven initiatives be the solution? We think so. We anticipate countless outcomes from this event, in the areas of activity and technology coordination, and community cohesion. For community cohesion, the forum remains active and open to the public for access and contribution. There is a plan to continue connections via monthly webinars and perhaps regional meet-ups that might align with conferences, trade shows, hack-a-thons, etc. For technology coordination, there is anticipated collaboration and cooperation toward interoperability, knowledge and data sharing, and most certainly code-base and “stack” sharing. The coordination of technology aligns with activity coordination to improve information flow and reduce duplication of effort.

The GOAT 2019 dates and location will be announced in early 2019, and readers are encouraged to apply.

About Each Organization

Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment is currently focused on developing cover crop and grazing management decision tools based on soil health and forage analysis using a combination of management data and high-resolution analysis of Internet of Things environmental sensor data and remote sensing analysis.

Noble Research Institute, LLC (www.noble.org) is an independent nonprofit agricultural research organization dedicated to delivering solutions to great agricultural challenges. Headquartered in Ardmore, Oklahoma, the Noble Research Institute conducts fundamental, translational and applied research; offers no-cost consultation and education to farmers, ranchers and land managers; operates seven research and demonstration farms; and educates students of all ages about science and agriculture. The Noble Research Institute was founded by Lloyd Noble, an Oklahoma oilman and philanthropist, in 1945 as The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation to advance agriculture and land stewardship.

Purdue University’s Open Ag Technologies and Systems (OATS) Group is working in the technical landscape and innovation area, but broad involvement by stakeholders including original equipment manufacturers, agricultural producers, landowners, service and product suppliers, logistics firms, processors, and even consumers will be required

Read More >

GOAT:Hack @ Real Food Campaign 2018

The Mission

To create or generate accessible data driven,  location specific tools that help relate to their environment, farm practice, soil health, and food quality.  This may include improving interoperability between existing data streams, creating new data streams, interfaces, analytic, communications, or observation tools.

Background

The Gathering for Open Ag Tech (GOAT) is a ad-hoc gathering of technologists  and agriculture network to collaborate, and create a vision for a fully open agricultural future.  GOAT members endeavor to support ag-related organizations (including the RFC!) trying to solve technical problems while keeping it free as in freedom!

The Real Food Campaign (RFC)  multi-stakeholder collaborative with the goal of increasing the nutrient density of our food supply.  In 2018, the RFC started a nationwide survey of soil and food quality to better understand the connections between farm practice, soil health, and food quality.  In addition, the RFC is developing tools to estimate nutritional parameters in stores and on farms.

The RFC Lab operates the survey which collects food and soil samples from individual farms and stores, and tests them for a suite of nutritional and soil health parameters.

How it Works

  1. Post your idea to the forum – this acts as your application so do it!  It lets us know your coming, gives us and the GOAT community a chance for feedback, and could help you identify additional partners / collaborations.  Your idea should directly address the core mission of the Hackathon (stated above). Ideas may come from a team or an individual, and teams may shift or merge at the conference – that’s completely ok (in fact, we hope they do!).  However, you do need to have a concrete idea when you show up. The purpose is to help teams ensure that the project will excite RFC partners and attendees of the Soil and Nutrition Conference! Not sure about your idea or don’t have one?  Here’s a few examples that may help.
  2. Coordinate with your project partners before the conference.  The final presentations will be directly to conference participants.  While projects do not need to be a functional product / proof of concept, it certainly would help!  So consider doing a little legwork to make your showing the best it can be. If you can’t – don’t sweat it, come as you are 🙂
  3. Sign up for the Soil and Nutrition Conference.  To take part in the Hackathon, you must register for the Soil and Nutrition Conference!  Accommodations are booked separately. Feel free to come to the pre-conference as well if you want!
  4. Show up and hack away!  You will have most of 2 full days to work on your project.  There will be time early on day 1 to get feedback, talk with other participants to see if more collaborations are possible / make sense, and clarify your final product/presentation/pitch.
  5. Present to the community.  At the end of the 2nd day, you will present whatever you have (a mock-up, a product, a proof of concept…) to the participants of the Soil and Nutrition Conference and the Bionutrient Food Association (the organization which runs the conference).  The attendees and the BFA will vote directly with their wallets to support projects which they find most compelling, up to a maximum of $1000 per project.  Projects are not competing with each other, but instead trying to most effectively engage the needs/interest of the audience.  In addition, many prominent ag-related organizations will be present to view the final projects and may consider ongoing support.
  6. Go home happy, accomplished, and tired 🙂

Prizes

All projects will be presented to the participants of the Soil and Nutrition Conference and the Bionutrient Food Association (the organization which runs the conference).  The attendees and the BFA will vote directly with their wallets to support projects which they find most compelling, up to a maximum of $1000 per project. Projects are not competing with each other, but instead trying to most effectively engage the needs/interest of the audience. In addition, many prominent ag-related organizations will be present to view the final projects and may consider ongoing support.

Program

The RFC Hackathon will run concurrently with the Soil and Nutrition Conference, at the Southbridge Hotel and Conference Center in Southbridge MA.  To take part in the Hackathon, you must register for the Soil and Nutrition Conference!

Dec. 1, Saturday

9:00 – 10:30 – introductions, description of the RFC, and review of hackathon process.

10:00 – 5:00 – work on projects!

Dec. 2, Sunday

9:00 –  10:30 – (optional) walk through of existing ag-related platforms

10:30 – 3:30 – work on projects!

3:30 – 5:00 – final project presentations to Soil and Nutrition Conference participants.

FAQ

Can you provide some example projects?
Sure, here’s a few ranging from doable in 2 days to doable in 20 years:

  1. The RFC currently collects soil and food samples from farms.  We propose to create an API so that RFC data collection software can call a free historical weather API to include daily rain and sun information to their sample meta-data.  This will help contextualize the quality of the plant, and therefore reduce error when identifying correlations between food quality and soil health.
  2. We want to create a web-connected soil penetrometer for simultaneous compaction and soil moisture readings.
  3. We want to build a smartphone app which better engages the RFC community by delivering nutritional information about products in real time which pulls from the RFC Labs database.
  4. We want to build the ultimate ‘tricorder’ handheld sensor which will contain enough data to provide detailed, accurate outputs of food quality in real time!  We don’t know exactly how we’ll do it, but have clever ideas for integrating existing technologies and, with some reasonable assumptions about decreased costs of tech in the future, when this may be feasible.
  5. We want to connect our farm management platform to the RFC Lab so that our user base can submit food and soil samples with highly granular on-farm data.
  6. We want to solve a user experience problem in collecting on-farm data – to make it easy for farmers to collect significant amounts of data without data fatigue, and to do so in a comparable, consistent way across farms.

Can I attend?
Anyone can attend but YOU MUST submit your idea to the forum and receive feedback and sign up for the Soil and Nutrition Conference (these are required!).

What is the expected time commitment?
If you intend to present a compelling project/idea/etc, you will need all the time you can get. At least one member of your team should plan to commit 100% of the conference time to the Hackathon. We understand if people want to go to a workshop or meeting, but you probably won’t be successful unless you dedicate all of one person and most of everyone else’s time to hacking at the conference.

How do I get there?
In general, if you’re far away, fly into boston and rent a car or take the bus (https://www.rome2rio.com/s/Boston/Southbridge).  If you’re within 7 – 8 hour drive just drive – the flight + rental isn’t really worth it.  The conference website has more info: https://soilandnutrition.org/lodging-and-meals/.

What should I bring?
Bring whatever you need to work on your project, and anything else you think may come up.  Definitely computer, cords, cables for hardware, cool stickers, the usual.

Is this mostly hardware, software, or what?
All of the above.  A new sensor or unique physical device which enhances data relating soil health to food nutrition would be great.  Also, connecting two platforms so they can share data, thereby allowing users to better track farm management with soil health would also be great. On net there probably is a bias towards improving interoperability between existing platforms / hardware, but don’t let that limit you.

How does registration work?
If you submit your idea and get positive feedback, sign up for the conference, and show up, you’re in!

What will I eat?
When you sign up for the conference + hotel meals are included unless you choose to get them a la cart (details here: https://soilandnutrition.org/lodging-and-meals/).

How do teams work?
You should come with an idea and a team (one or many), but it’s completely ok to switch teams, adjust teams, or even adjust whole ideas once you get here.  This is a outcome-focused hackathon – we care only that we make the most compelling stuff for the RFC community we possibly can!

What about travel reimbursements?
Sorry, we don’t have reimbursements available, though you can email the conference organizers to put in a request.

I don’t code — what about me?
It completely depends on your project.  The goal here is to create something compelling to the community… it is entirely possible to create a compelling data schema, or build out a compelling front-end design for a common application.  While coding certainly helps, it is not required… though, as stated before, you do need to have an idea coming in!

What if I don’t have a team?
If you want to come but don’t have a team or an idea, you are still welcome!  It is possible (though in no way guaranteed) you could join an existing team. But note that this is a goal-oriented hackathon – we will not have lots of mentors walking around supporting teams, and a lot of the work will be quite focused (there will be a few mentors, but not lots).  So you may learn something by osmosis, but you may also want to go to conference sessions while the projects are furiously and silently coding away.

Read More >

The GOAT Report

GOAT Report 2018 compiled by Ankita Raturi.

GOAT 2018 was seeded with a problem statement and four goals, as formulated by the organizers and stated on the website:

The technologies that produce our food and the data about our food system should be public, and enable control by the farms and farmers that produce it. Together, we can collectively address the problems which prevent the creation of advanced, high quality open technology and its adoption.

The four goals were:

  1. Coordinate existing development,
  2. Invite new development,
  3. Aligning technologies with actual users, and
  4. Creating a GOAT roadmap.

These were reiterated in the kick off session and was followed by a speed meeting session during which folks formed concentric circles and had the opportunity to have a 2 minute chat with at least half the full group.

GOAT 2018 was in effect the setting the tone conference, where we came together to figure out who we are, what exists and is missing in the open ag tech landscape, and think about what we want to become.

Each day began with a setting the tone session. There were 3 setting the tone sessions:

  • Day 1: Data Landscape (what are the challenges, esp. for different stakeholders?)
  • Day 2: Tool Landscape (what do we have and how do we fit together?)
  • Day 3: Future Landscape (we are an information ecology, what’s missing?)

Showcasing GOAT-participants

On the first day, there were 2 additional sessions for folks to showcase their work:

  • A lightning talk session (~70 minutes) consisting of 5 minute lightning talks.
  • A show & tell session with folks displaying posters and demonstrating prototypes.

Collaborative Conference Making

The first day closed with a session dedicated to creating the program for the rest of the unconference. This began with a brainstorming activity in which each person proposed a session of interest.

As a group, we clustered these proposed sessions thematically, logistically, and opportunistically, to form 25 unconference sessions, of which 22 were conducted.  Three sessions did not occur because many folks wanted to attend the Omega wastewater treatment facility tour: Community, User led UX, & Business Models for Open Source.

Below was the resulting conference program:

GOAT 2018 Program

Themes of GOAT 2018

On clustering the content of these sessions, the following 6 themes arose:

  1. Strategies for Open Sourcing agricultural technologies. Sessions included: funding open source, values and opportunities for open source
  2. Sensing & Control. Sessions included: mapping the solution landscape, hardware, remote sensing, Internet of Things sensors, robotics
  3. Software: From Farm to Table (alt: Software in Agriculture). Sessions included: mapping the solution landscape, crop planning, sales & marketing
  4. Data & Interoperability. Sessions included: mapping the solution landscape, Interoperability of products, data standards, data content, data & culture/values
  5. Communicating the sustainability of agriculture. Sessions included: blockchain applications, carbon verification & measurements, teaching & learning, waste & byproducts
  6. Community & Values. Sessions included: food culture, food security, access, data & culture/values, teaching & learning

Reflecting on GOAT 2018

The closing session was a follow-on from the setting the tone session of Day 3 (regarding the future of GOAT). Folks were invited to more broadly envision the future of open agriculture, technology and information, including considering key challenges, missing pieces, opportunities, requirements, and next steps. These were initially clustered for discussion in the final session.

Future Pathways

On further consideration and grouping of these responses, the following 5 themes arose as key pieces for the future of GOAT:

1. Coordination of Activities

  • Collaboration Pathways
  • Reduce duplication of efforts
  • Information Flows

2. Coordination of Technologies

  • Interoperability
  • Knowledge Sharing
  • Sharing DATA

3. Community cohesion || Shared philosophy, direction, and values

  • Lack of support
  • Lack of awareness
  • Lack of “beacon on the hill”

4. metaGOAT Futures

  • Governance
  • Funding

5. A healthier information ecology in agriculture

  • Missing fundamental technical infrastructure and core technologies
  • Missing representation of diverse food and agricultural system stakeholders

That’s all folks!

Until next year. Good GOAT, great GOAT.

GOAT2018
Read More >

GOAT 2018 Program

Session types

  • Pre-arranged unconference sessions
  • Workshops that require pre-conference planning/coordination (stuff, prepayment for supplies, etc.)
  • Lightning talks
  • Unconference sessions times may use up to 3 simultaneous sessions (3 rooms, ~20 people per room avg)

Note: All meals will be provided by Omega Institute

Pre-Conference (Sunday):
Sunday ~noon – Organizer Check-in
16:00 – 18:00 – Conference Registration
~19:00 Dinner at Omega

Day 1 (Monday):
08:00 – 09:00 – Breakfast
9:30 – 10:00 – Introduction to conference
10:00 – 11:30 – Speed Meeting
11:30 – 12:00 – Setting the Tone session I
12:00 – 12:30 – Lunch
12:30 – 14:15 – Show & Tell
14:15 – 15:30 – Unconference explanation
– 10 minute break –
15:40 – 16:50 – Unconference session
16:50 – 17:30 – Q&A, Open Discussion
17:30 – 19:00 – (optional) Evening activity
Dinner

Day 2 (Tuesday):
08:00 – 09:00 – Breakfast
09:00 – 09:30 – Setting the Tone Session II
09:30 – 10:40 – Unconference session
– 10 minute break –
10:50 – 12:00 – Unconference session
12:00 – 13:00 – Lunch
13:00 – 14:10 – Unconference session
– 10 minute break –
14:20 – 15:30 – Unconference session
– 10 minute break –
15:40 – 16:50 – Unconference session
16:50 – 17:30 – Q&A, Open Discussion
17:30 – 19:00 – (optional) Evening activity
Dinner

Day 3 (Wednesday):
08:00 – 09:00 – Breakfast
09:00 – 09:30 – Setting the Tone Session III
09:30 – 10:40 – Unconference session
– 10 minute break –
10:50 – 12:00 – Unconference session
12:00 – 13:00 – Lunch
13:00 – 14:10 – Unconference sessions
– 10 minute break –
14:20 – 15:30 – Unconference sessions
15:30 → 17:00 – How do we move forward?
17:00 → 17:30 – Q&A, Open Discussion, thank you’s and goodbyes
Dinner

NOTE – make sure we know if you are staying Wednesday night – there are limited rooms available.

Social Media

Yes please! Post content (images, text, etc.) to your favorite social media with the following hashtag: #goatech2018 @goatech_org

If you take pictures and don’t mind us using them, please let us know!

Unconference

Unconference is a new experience for some. Please check out some guidelines for how it works and how to prepare here: http://unconference.net/unconferencing-how-to-prepare-to-attend-an-unconference/

Documentation and Discussion

To initiate a discussion, go create a post on the forum at forum.goatech.org. This helps documents all the smart things the GOAT community has to say, and helps make new folks get up to speed quick.

We also have a RIOT channel at for more instantaneous or quick group messaging. Come by and say hi, there’s usually a few of us hanging out in there 🙂

Code of Conduct

We have a code of conduct shamelessly stolen from GOSH. Please read it here: http://openhardware.science/gosh-2017/gosh-code-of-conduct/

We also have a point of contact for violations of the code of conduct. If you feel there has been a violation, want to discuss the rules, or have concerns you don’t feel discussing in public, you can contact the CoC person: Dorn or Ankita.

Organizer points of contact

Much of the conference work will be powered by GOAT participants themselves. If you are volunteering, you can find a point of contact for you work. If you have any other questions/concerns, hopefully it fits into one of the below categories. If you’re not sure, identify an organizer and they’ll help you find the right person to talk to.

Facilitation – Greg Austic
Documentation – Ankita Raturi
Registration – Chris Rowe
Tech Support – Michael Stenta

a poem by leunig about going home to ponder.
Read More >

GOAT 2018

GOAT 2018 is a 3 day gathering of diverse developers and users of open ag technology. APPLY HERE!

“The term goat rodeo refers to a chaotic event where many things must go right for the situation to work, a reference to the unusual and challenging aspects of blending classical and bluegrass music. Yo-Yo Ma described a goat rodeo, saying: ‘If there were forks in the road and each time there was a fork, the right decision was made, then you get to a goat rodeo.”

[4] — Yo-Yo Ma, on The Goat Rodeo Sessions

Why?

For the motivations behind GOAT, see the About GOAT page.

The inaugural 2018 gathering will bring together the nascent open ag tech community to meet, learn, share, and establish a common vision for creating open technologies for our food system.

When?

Applications close – March 28, 2018
Full program available – March 31, 2018
Conference – Mon – Wed, May 7 – May 9th, 2018

Where?

The 2018 conference will be held at the beautiful Omega Institute, an hour and a half train ride north of New York City. Arrive via NYC airports and take the train or rent a car, or it is within driving distance of most of North East.

The Omega Institute
150 Lake Dr
Rhinebeck, NY 12572

Picture of the Omega Institute

Who should apply?

We are looking for anyone actively involved in developing and using open technologies in agriculture. Specifically, we are looking for developers (programmers, engineers, designers, etc.) and active users (practitioners, farmers, researchers, etc.) of technology. Technology is broadly defined, and includes both traditional hardware and software, but also mechanical tools (tractors, implements, etc.) and any domains relating to the creation of that hardware (intellectual property + open licenses, data management, model development, etc.)

While we are accepting applications from outside North America, we cannot provide extensive support for complex visa applications. Be aware that you are responsible for paperwork related to getting to the US if accepted. We hope to make the conference more international in the future as we have more organizers and more funding.

What is the cost?

The conference itself is free if your application is accepted. We have funding for travel and lodging for those who cannot afford it. Specify your funding needs on the application form.

Can I get involved before the conference?

Yes! Go to the forum at forum.goatech.org and post your questions. You can also find discussions around GOAT and related groups in the open ag space, so definitely check it out.

If you have ideas or suggestions on programming (speakers, activities, nearby locations to visit, etc.) that you think are a great fit, please post about it! We are still actively setting the program and activities.

Who is organizing GOAT 2018?

The organizing committee for GOAT 2018 is:

Ankita Raturi, USDA Agricultural Research Service & North Carolina State University
Chris Rowe, Life Cycle Learning
Dan Kittredge, Bionutrient Food Association
David Forster, Bionutrient Food Association
Don Blair, Edge Collective
Dorn Cox, Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment
Greg Austic, Our Sci
Michael Stenta, farmOS

The Bionutrient Food Association is our primary sponsor, providing funding for the conference, as well as travel as needed. The Omega Institute is providing in-kind sponsorship in the for of both accommodation and meals. If you are interested in supporting or sponsoring GOAT 2018, please contact: goatech.org@gmail.com.

Read More >