Dutch farmers add sustainability to their enviable productivity
AT THE entrance to Hoeve Rosa farm, in the southern Dutch province of Limburg, a sign gives a warning that unmanned machines might zoom past. This farm is run by robots. They feed 180 cows, monitor their health, clean their stables and milk them whenever the cows choose. Fons Kersten, who runs the place, just needs to keep an eye on his phone. An app alerts him if a cow needs human attention.Read more
One small hamlet in China is teaching people how to sell online
TAOBAO, a large online retail platform, has become increasingly important to rural economies across China. Establishing online stores on Taobao requires little more than decent internet links and a logistics chain (often motorcycle delivery), so millions have been able to start selling goods at low cost. The trend has reversed the fortunes of many rural people.Read more
Something strange is happening at farms in upstate New York. The cows are milking themselves.
Desperate for reliable labor and buoyed by soaring prices, dairy operations across the state are charging into a brave new world of udder care: robotic milkers, which feed and milk cow after cow without the help of a single farmhand.Read more
Rural community of 25,000 finds mesh network and fiber solution
A decade ago, cities jumped on the free municipal wireless bandwagon, but free was not a very good business plan, and most projects went dark when cities or vendors pulled the plug. Today free wireless is most commonly offered by public libraries and businesses wanting to attract customers, and only a few localities still offer citywide coverage. But as mobile devices proliferate and the thirst for connectivity grows, free municipal wireless may be poised for a comeback.Read more
Dr. Norman Jacknis joins Intelligent Community Forum as Senior Fellow to lead global Rural Imperative initiative
New York, New York – February 25, 2014 – The Intelligent Community Forum announces that it welcomes Dr. Norman Jacknis, a former Top7 Intelligent Community CIO and Cisco director, as its first Senior Fellow.
Dr. Jacknis will be responsible for the Intelligent Community Forum’s Rural Imperative program that focuses on how to use information and communication technologies to build and create a renaissance of rural life. For the first time in history, these technologies make possible rural communities where residents can be as closely connected to the global economy as urbanites.Read more
Global Outlook: Connectivity
Once living in a small town meant isolation and a lack of opportunity, but that is all changing, writes Karen E. Thuermer in the February-March issue of fdi Intelligence, as remote rural communities embrace the digital age and link up with the global economy.Read more
When it comes to call centers filled with English-speaking employees, India likely comes to mind. Not a tiny town in Wyoming called Ten Sleep, population about 300.
What Ten Sleep has is not, exactly, a call center. Instead, the town is home to a teaching center that is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There, American teachers provide real-time video English lessons to thousands of students in classrooms across Asia via high-speed fiber optic networks.Read more
Arlington, Virginia, USA is home to a small software company called Lemur Retail. Its founder, Will Fuentes, was planning a business trip to Seattle and needed help with a common priority: identifying potential clients and arranging to meet them. He decided to work though his local chapter of a national networking group called Startup America. Within hours, he had won some introductions, secured a temporary work space and even received restaurant recommendations. “Before I flew out there,” he told The New York Times, “I already had five or six meetings set up with potential clients and other key contacts, as well as one potential acquirer.” *Read more
The Technology Farm is an incubator located in a 72-acre apple orchard in Geneva, New York. It is a nonprofit joint venture among Cornell University, the city of Geneva and the State of New York, which aims to create, retain and expand technology-based businesses focusing on agriculture and foodstuffs. Opening with 3 tenants and one lab in 2005, it now is home to 10 emerging businesses operating in two labs and four production facilities. It represents a successful effort to translate that university-business dynamic, which has powered the success of places from Taipei and Sophia Antipolis to Cambridge and Silicon Valley, into a rural economy. Startups and incubators are part of the charisma of these places, and the Tech Farm has transplanted them to a setting of rural beauty and fecundity.Read more
In France, one of the biggest challenges facing farmers is not bad weather or agricultural policy but loneliness. According to an August 2011 article in The New York Times, “The lack of love in the countryside is a serious topic for a country that sees its bedrock in small farmers and their produce, which is supposed to be uniquely of the place where it is grown. According to the Agriculture Ministry, about 30 percent of male French farmers did not have a partner in 2009. Loneliness is particularly acute among male farmers between 18 and 35, especially cattle farmers, who generally spend more time working than other farmers. About 36 percent of cattle farmers were single in 2009, according to the ministry.” *Read more