Action Tools

Action tools are what we use to act on and change our environment. Action tools and our choices of tools are a reflection of our understanding of our environment defined by our collective observation, analysis and communication. Examples include a cover crop roller, a moldboard plow, animal or plant breeding choices, crop rotation choices and related practices.

Activity Data

Activity data is the record of any user action that can be logged on a computer. In the context of agriculture, it is the digital record of any management action. Attribution (knowing who the user is) is invaluable in analysing and building services around activity data such as payment for agricultural data or environmental outcomes.

Adaptive Management

Adaptive Management is a process of continual improvement by adjusting “action” based on high frequency observations and data driven analysis rather than by expert opinion, best practice recipe or prescription. It requires a high level of system understanding and observation, analysis and communications feedback.

Agroecosystem Model

A model for the functionings of an agricultural system, with all inputs and outputs. An ecosystem may be as small as a set of microbial interactions that take place on the surface of roots, or as large as the globe. An agroecosystem may be at the level of the individual plant-soil-microorganism system, at the level of crops or herds of domesticated animals, at the level of farms or agricultural landscapes, or at the level of entire agricultural economies.

Analytic Tool

An analytic tool is any tool used to interpret and make use of observations and observational data. Examples include tables, charts, statistical tools (i.e. spreadsheets) and models used to predict future system behavior based on past observations.

API – Application programming interface

In computer programming, an application programming interface is a set of subroutine definitions, and tools for building software. In general terms, it is a set of clearly defined methods of communication between various components.

Backbone Organization

A defining feature of the Collective Impact approach is the role of a backbone organization – a separate organization dedicated to coordinating the various dimensions and collaborators involved in the initiative. Supporting backbone infrastructure is essential to ensuring the collective impact effort maintains momentum and facilitates impact.


Black, indigenous, and people of color

Canonical Data

Canonical data is data in its simplest form that enables it to be structured in a meaningful way. This allows the data to be integrated and applied across multiple systems and databases. A canonical model is a design pattern used to communicate between different data formats.

Collective Impact

Collective Impact is the commitment of a group of actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a specific social problem, using a structured form of collaboration. Successful collective impact initiatives typically have five conditions that together produce true alignment and lead to powerful results: a common agenda, shared measurement systems, mutually reinforcing activities, continuous communication, and backbone support organizations.