Can Open-Source Models Decode Urban Agriculture?
As if the tribulations of organic farming weren't enough (relentless gophers, early frosts, voracious bug appetites), often small-scale farmers must also navigate labyrinthine regulations just to get a chance to sell their harvest. Urban planner John Reinhardt hopes a new model of open-source agriculture will allow farmers to spend more time planting and less time decoding, thus expanding the urban-ag movement.
Reinhardt launched a series of user-friendly, interactive maps on his Grown in the City blog that color-code the different types of zoning ordinances; his site also includes food-sovereignty maps, as well as helpful applications and resources for agriculturalists to use and share.
Knowledge-sharing via open-source networks is gaining momentum. Today on TED, physicist Marcin Jakubowski presents his idea for "open-sourced blueprints for civilization." His vision is to provide how-to guides for building farm machines such as tractors and harvesters, thereby empowering people to create self-sustaining villages.
Reindhardt and Jakubokski's ideas are guided by by the assumption that the best kinds of progress come when many people can collaborate and contribute knowledge to a common, user-friendly source.