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Connecting Farmers to Digital Tools


Jeanne Lurvey, OpenTEAM Fellow at Pasa, shares highlights of her work!

Jeanne Lurvey is an OpenTEAM Fellow based at Pasa Sustainable Agriculture, a Pennsylvania-based sustainable agriculture association with a network of more than 5,000 farmers representing every production and scale with a united goal of advancing regenerative and equitable agriculture at home and in their communities.

Since joining the OpenTEAM community and participating in the pilot year of the Fellows Program, Pasa has been working to expand farmer’s use and awareness of OpenTEAM tools including SurveyStack, farmOS, the Farmer’s Coffeeshop, and Hylo through the Soil Health Benchmarking Study (SHBS). Jeanne, alongside Pasa’s Lead Research Coordinator Sarah Bay Nawa, is spearheading this work!

In 2020, Pasa started using SurveyStack as one method for collecting farm management data for the SHBS. Jeanne has been working to increase the number of farms using SurveyStack through online tutorials, farm visits, SurveyStack’s ‘request for submissions’ feature, email communications, and phone calls to farmers. Through these outreach efforts, Pasa has engaged farmers to use SurveyStack for the first time. ​

Beyond farm record data entry, Pasa is incorporating OpenTEAM digital tools into multiple touchpoints with farmers participating in the SHBS. Pasa’s emails, Farmers SHBS Resource Webpage, and farm visit literature all include SurveyStack as the preferred method for research data collection and a description of the different OpenTEAM tools available.

As a part of her work with the SHBS, Jeanne went out into the field to visit farms to collect research data and to connect with farmers about digital tools.

“While visiting farms, I learned about farmers’ different record keeping tools, their use cases, and strong interest in peer to peer learning,” said Jeanne. In connecting with farmers, she shared OpenTEAM’s mission and her role as a Fellow in supporting farmer’s learnings and collecting their feedback to help inform the digital tools in OpenTEAM’s ecosystem.

Pasa has also been collaborating with developers to prepare the Farmer’s Coffeeshop for piloting in 2023. The Farmer’s Coffeeshop is a visual benchmarking and social networking tool designed to support strategic decision-making on farms, encourage knowledge sharing, and improve the information cycle. 

Jeanne continues to engage in the OpenTEAM community, participate in working groups, join co-working sessions, produce presentations, and share feedback. As she poses questions to developers and shares ideas and feedback for the different digital tools, she builds relationships with developers and meets with other hubs to learn about how they are using tools for their research projects. Taking some of what she has learned, Jeanne put together a farmer panel that spoke to the different digital record keeping tools farmers use for their operation, fostering conversation and learning around the benefits of using digital tools and the value in farmer’s collecting their farm data.

As Jeanne reflects on her Fellows program experience thus far, she found that, “Partaking in different opportunities to learn from the OpenTEAM community has enriched my understanding of the interoperability of the tools and the strong vision and dedication the group has to supporting farmers and regenerative agriculture.”

The OpenTEAM Fellows Program operates with significant support from a $730,000 grant by the Walmart Foundation.

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