Using farmOS at Organic Valley

Organic Valley is one of our 15 Hubs that are using our suite of tools to help them manage everything from farm planning to organic certification. Of the many tools available to farmers, Organic Valley uses farmOS to keep track of all their records, documents, and logs of what is happening on the farm, ultimately using that information to maintain their organic certification.

Lexi Leum is the Farm Resources Coordinator in the Sustainability Department at Organic Valley. Leum’s work primarily includes applying for grants, offering field support for Organic Valley’s Farm and Land Program, and collaborating with the organic certification department, which is where farmOS primarily comes in, says Leum.

“We use farmOS for the filing of documents and events throughout the growing season. When we are audited at our organic inspection, we can reference the log of events in farmOS to showcase our work,” Leum states.

Of the features farmOS has to offer, Organic Valley appreciates the visual aspect of drawing maps, seeing field boundaries, and then being able to manipulate those as necessary in order to track their progress. farmOS also offers a Field Kit, an app accessed from your phone which allows you to record data without having to be at your computer. These features help Organic Valley and other farmOS users to adequately keep track of all the events and plans that happen during each season, which can later be reported and looked back on.

Leum sees their commitment to using farmOS as a major accomplishment, helping them to manage all of their records in one place. “Because we had been filing data in many different ways, to commit to one is where we really have been giving our best effort to utilize farmOS”, Leum states. 

Leum says there is a growing desire from farmers to be able to use softwares like farmOS, “I think there is a true desire for applications like farmOS, especially 1for producers who utilize technology as a management tool. For those folks, this platform could be useful to sort and file their data.”

farmOS is a web-based application for farm management, planning, and record keeping. It is developed by a community of farmers, developers, researchers, and organizations with the aim of providing a standard platform for agricultural data collection and management.

You can learn more about farmOS and see it in action from the GODAN Open Farms Mini Documentary.

OpenTEAM Statement on racial equity in agriculture 

OpenTEAM Statement on racial equity in agriculture

Developed by: OpenTEAM Secretariat
10/25/2020

OpenTEAM is a collaborative network supporting the emergence and continued viability of a global food system that is a resilient driver of  healthy soil, healthy food for all, and racial equity to support thriving communities.

We acknowledge that agriculture has a troubled history of colonization, desertification, slavery and extraction.  

However we are now demanding more from agriculture, not just to produce more food, fiber and energy, but also to provide environmental services such as equitable access to clean air, water, habitat and biodiversity and be a catalyst for change in how we interact with each other and our environment. 

Our future agriculture must be liberating, not confining, and consciously work to undo the institutional injustices of the past that have limited our shared potential and disproportionately affected black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) and historically marginalized communities.  

  1. We must be deliberate in the tools and communities we co-create to assure that they do not perpetuate inequity, and do not speak For but With. 
  2. Instead we must actively work to build communities that are just, equitable, and inclusive and includes representation from BIPOC and historically marginalized communities. 
  3. We have the potential to shift the conversation from fighting over scarce resources towards sharing knowledge to create natural abundance and resilience and strength through diversity.    

As an OpenTEAM community, we commit to:

  1. BIPOC representation both in individual and organizational membership within our communities of practice. 
  2. Actively recruit and support BIPOC members for leadership within the community working groups.
  3. Elevate BIPOC speakers into “main stage” events to elevate stories and expand the conversation beyond working groups.
  4. Collaborate with our member organizations to build upon, reinforce and amplify their own efforts to address racial equity.
  5. Co-create design processes for OpenTEAM tools and technology, with the creation of greater equity and trust in agricultural value creation as a core objective.

The stakes are huge, and the choices we make will affect the quality of the civilization that we live in, the quality of the air and water, the species with whom we share the planet, our resilience to floods and droughts, the nature of conflict, and the climate and diversity that we leave the next generations.  

In order to harness the shared innovation that happens every day on every farm, in every backyard and realize the vast potential for sharing across a rich and diverse global network we must democratize the code for agriculture. To benefit us all, we must have equity and trust. The benefits are so great and the risks are so dire. We each need everyone everywhere to have access to the best possible agricultural knowledge because together we have the capacity to improve soil health faster than we thought possible. 

 

Wolfe’s Neck announces new initiative to improve soil health, combat climate change

FREEPORT– As part of a  $10 million collaboration, Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment is attempting a “farming revolution” to combat carbon emissions and the effects of climate change, according to the Freeport nonprofit’s executive director, David Herring.

Working with Stonyfield Organic, the USDA’s LandPKS project and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture, Wolfe’s Neck announced the launch of the Open Technology Ecosystem for Agriculture Management (OpenTEAM), a “farmer-driven, interoperable platform to provide farmers around the world with the best possible knowledge to improve soil health,” officials said in a news release.

It will provide “any farmer anywhere with free access to site-specific data, providing quantitative feedback on millions of acres of farmland by 2024.” This data allows farmers to make informed decisions about land-use management. 

“The sense of urgency right now could not be higher,” Herring said in an interview. “It’s time for action. This is action.”  

“In order to solve climate change there has to be an ‘all of the above’ strategy which includes reducing carbon emissions” with solar energy and other sustainable practices that do not require the use of fossil fuels, he explained. “The other piece that’s really critical is increasingly talked about as natural solutions. The way we are managing land on this earth has to dramatically change.” Advertisement

Nearly 40% of the earth’s land surface is used for various facets of agriculture, and according to Stonyfield Organic, agriculture is responsible for as much as 20% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.  In recent years, to more efficiently manage that land, farming practices have begun to move away from building soil health, Herring said. Plants take in Carbon Dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in the soil. Because of this, practices like tilling soil, for example, release a huge amount of carbon into the atmosphere, he said, and depletes the overall soil health. Healthy soil grows healthy crops. Healthy crops help make healthy humans. 

Climate change has had a tangible impact on farms in recent years with more frequent weather extremes. Rainfall in May of this year was higher than usual, he said, and July was the hottest on record in nearby Portland. Two years ago they experienced drought-like conditions throughout mid-summer. “These shifts are really one of the biggest challenges we’re facing as a farm,” he said. This is also why building soil health is important. 

“It helps farmers adapt to climate change,” he said. For example, “farms that have more organic matter (in their soil) are going to be more resilient to those extremes. Healthy soil can absorb water faster and store it for longer, creating a buffer against drought.” 

OpenTEAM will combine field-level carbon measurement with digital management records, remote sensing, predictive analytics and input and economic management decision support in a “connected platform that reduces the need for farmer data entry while improving access to a wide array of tools. The platform will support adaptive soil health management for farms of all scales, geographies and production systems,” according to the release. It will also help scientists better understand soil health by providing better, more reliable data. 

(Courtesy of Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment)

Asked about Wolfe’s Neck’s soil quality, Herring said there are some fields where organic matter is really high, and others where it isn’t, but that trying to compare their data to national averages only demonstrated the need for OpenTEAM.

“Getting this kind of information from farms just isn’t happening regularly, effectively or being shared through common databases so that we can create averages,” Herring said. “We want to make it easy for farmers to get this information so they can aspire to achieve continual improvement in their soil health,” he said. The more than $10 million public-private collaboration is funded by a $5 million grant from FFAR, with more than $5 million matching contributions, including a $200,000 grant from The Stonyfield Foundation and $200,000 in in-kind contributions and a grant from Stonyfield Organic.

Implementation will begin in the fall and testing will continue into the 2020 growing season at “hub farms” across the United States and into other countries. 

“It has to be on a large scale” if it is going to be impactful, Herring said. “This can’t be a thing that (just) the Wolfe’s Neck Centers of the world can do.” The goal is that by the end, every farm will become a research farm, and there are already hub farms starting work across the country. 

At the heart of OpenTEAM is the need for all of the various technological advancements in farming to be more accessible to farmers, no matter the size of their operations. Through the collaboration, they hope to create a “suite of tools” for farmers to implement on a grand scale using the open-source platform.Advertisement

Another goal is to incentivize the program so that farmers are not just getting paid for their product, but also for the outcomes– if they are practicing and managing their farms in a way that is helping solve some of the problems. The technology will help those outcomes be monitored, verified and reported to help benefit farmers. 

“Within a year or so we will be able to demonstrate and train other farmers about this program and this software so we can gather information and feedback,” Herring said, though admittedly, “From a farming perspective it probably won’t mean a lot right away.”

Wolfe’s Neck is uniquely suited to lead this charge, Herring said, because of its education and research components combined with its status as a mission-driven, working, organic farm and a nonprofit. With this collaboration, they are positioned to become what he called “a national leader of regenerative agriculture.”

hlaclaire@timesrecord.com

Global collaboration creates open source climate solutions

FREEPORT, Maine —Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture & the Environment, together with founding collaborators Stonyfield Organic, the USDA’s LandPKS project and Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), today announced the launch of OpenTEAM, the first open source technology ecosystem in the world to address soil health and mitigate climate change. OpenTEAM is projected to provide quantitative feedback on millions of acres of farmland by 2024.

OpenTEAM, or Open Technology Ecosystem for Agricultural Management, is a farmer-driven, interoperable platform to provide farmers around the world with the best possible knowledge to improve soil health.

Currently, farmers are faced with an ever-expanding assortment of decision-making software; however, these tools often do not “communicate” with each other, making it difficult to transfer, share or use by farmers and scientists or in supply chains. With OpenTEAM, farmers are not only in control of their own data, but also able to enter data once to access all available tools in the OpenTEAM collaborative.

OpenTEAM offers field-level carbon measurement, digital management records, remote sensing, predictive analytics and input and economic management decision support in a connected platform that reduces the need for farmer data entry while improving access to a wide array of tools. The platform will support adaptive soil health management for farms of all scales, geographies and production systems. OpenTEAM will also accelerate scientific understanding of soil health by providing more high-quality data to researchers collaborating on the project.

In addition to the founding partners, more than one dozen partner organizations have joined to develop, fund, and implement OpenTEAM to date. These include The Soil Health PartnershipGeneral MillsColorado State University/USDA-NRCS Comet FarmApplied GeoSolutions, LLC; DNDC Applications, Research and Training; Dagan, Inc.; Michigan State University Global Change Learning LabSustainable Food Lab and Cool Farm AlliancePurdue University Open Technology and Systems Center (OATS)University of British Columbia Center for Sustainable Food SystemsRegen NetworkOur.SciQuick Carbon at Yale F&ESU.S. Cover Crop Council decision toolsSustainability Innovation Lab at Colorado (SILC); The University of Colorado Boulder; and FarmOS.

Wolfe’s Neck Center will coordinate OpenTEAM from its headquarters on more than 600 acres of conserved landscape and farmland on the coast of Maine. Implementation and demonstration will begin in fall 2019. Field testing will continue in the 2020 growing season across the U.S. and international hub farm networks.

“At Wolfe’s Neck Center, we are collaborating to create solutions that address climate change through regenerative agriculture,” said Dave Herring, executive director, Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture & the Environment. “OpenTEAM pairs agriculture with open source technology to accelerate soil health right here in Maine and around the globe.”

The more than $10 million public-private collaboration is made possible by a $5 million grant from FFAR, with more than $5 million matching contributions coming from across the network, including a $200,000 grant from The Stonyfield Foundation and $200,000 in in-kind contributions and a grant from Stonyfield Organic.

“Optimizing soil management practices not only improves soil health, but also protects the environment,” said FFAR’s Executive Director Sally Rockey. “At scale, OpenTEAM can improve soil management practices for farmers around the globe and mitigate the effects of climate change.”

“Stonyfield is strongly committed to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions,” said Britt Lundgren, director of organic and sustainable agriculture at Stonyfield Organic. “Over half of our emissions come from agriculture, so in order to hit our target we know we need to work with the farms who provide our ingredients and help them reduce their emissions and sequester more carbon. OpenTEAM will enable us to do this, and track farms’ progress so we can be confident we’re hitting our goals.”

“We are inspired by the level of collaboration, leadership and vision our OpenTEAM partners have provided,” said Dorn Cox, PhD, research director, Wolfe’s Neck Center. “Through the power of open technology, we aim to make what was invisible visible and in so doing the unvalued valuable.”

For more information on OpenTEAM or becoming an OpenTEAM partner, please contact Dr. Dorn Cox at dcox@wolfesneck.org.

Wolfe’s Neck and partners launch open-source soil health platform

A new agriculture software platform co-developed by a Freeport nonprofit is expected to result in critical information about millions of acres of farmland by 2024.

The platform, OpenTEAM, is the first open-source technology system in the world to address soil health and mitigate climate change, according to a news release.

The platform was introduced this week by Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture & the Environment in Freeport, along with founding collaborators Stonyfield Organic, USDA’s LandPKS project and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research. OpenTEAM stands for open technology ecosystem for agricultural management. The platform will provide farmers and scientists around the world with higher-quality data to improve soil health, according to the release.

Agriculture emissions

The tool is also expected to help mitigate the effects of climate change. Agriculture is the source of as much of 20% of the gases that cause global warming, according to OpenTEAM marketing materials. At scale, it’s expected that OpenTEAM can help farmers improve soil management practices so they reduce emissions and sequester more carbon.

“Optimizing soil management practices not only improves soil health, but also protects the environment,” Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research’s executive director, Sally Rockey, said in the release.

Sharing data

Currently, farmers use an expanding assortment of decision-making software, but the tools often don’t “communicate” with each other. That makes it difficult to transfer, share or use by farmers and scientists or in supply chains.

With OpenTEAM, its developers say, farmers can enter their own data and also access all of the collaborative’s tools.

Those tools include field-level carbon measurement, digital management records, remote sensing, predictive analytics and input and economic management decision support in a connected platform.

Wolfe’s Neck Center will coordinate OpenTEAM from its headquarters. Implementation and demonstration will begin this fall. Field-testing will continue in the 2020 growing season across the U.S. and international hub farm networks.

$10 million collaboration

“At Wolfe’s Neck Center, we are collaborating to create solutions that address climate change through regenerative agriculture,” Dave Herring, Wolfe’s Neck’s executive director, said in the release. “OpenTEAM pairs agriculture with open source technology to accelerate soil health right here in Maine and around the globe.”

The more than $10 million public-private collaboration is made possible by a $5 million grant from Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, with more than $5 million matching contributions coming from across the network, including a $200,000 grant from the Stonyfield Foundation and $200,000 in in-kind contributions and a grant from Stonyfield Organic.For more information on OpenTEAM or becoming an OpenTEAM partner, contact Dr. Dorn Cox at dcox@wolfesneck.org.