I spent yesterday morning at a remarkable meeting of young farmers meshing tradition and technology to sustain healthy soils and produce bountiful crops in a changing economy and climate.
They had gathered for a “pre conference” ahead of the seventh Young Farmers Conference hosted by the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in the lower Hudson Valley the rest of this week. A recurring theme was that the best way to sustain America’s smaller farms, both organic and conventional, is through an intensified focus on technology.
You can follow the meeting over the next couple of days through the hashtag #YFC14. But I also recommend tracking #FarmHack. This is the Twitter tag for an idea-sharing network of farmer-tinkerers devising everything from a remotely-monitored compost thermometer to an electric-powered rolling platform that one lies on while weeding (organic farms, eschewing herbicides, need other methods).
Farmhack is also a website through which farmers are sharing tools and methods with their peers — very much akin to Digital Green‘s use of YouTube in India to connect farmers.
Both of these portals, along with the Stone Barns “Virtual Grange,” are not doing anything new. For centuries, farmers have shared ideas and lessons learned at the market or grange hall or seed store. These portals are simply greatly expanding the reach of such knowledge networks. The “knowosphere” has arrived on the farm.
Read the full story at The New York Times.
By Andrew C. Revkin
Copyright 2014 The New York Times