Hi from San Francisco!
My name is @adrianlu and I have been with the OpenAg community since the department's launch. I finished building the PFC v1.0 and contributed documentation such as creating a protoshield wiring schematic for the v1.0. My team, The Homebrew Food Computer Club, most recently has been working on the brain for the past few months.
In this time, we have noticed a few challenges, which we are tackling with a new project we call the Digital Farm Lab.
1) Slow growth. Caleb and his team can only do so much on their own, they need more hubs of evangelism.
2) Prohibitive expenses and roadblocks on key modules. The high cost and stalled chiller/light components are driving members away from a uniform product.
At the Digital Farm Lab, we will keep our PFC v2.0 in a public makerspace where we can host tours, tutorials, and hack nights with our nearly 500 member Urban AgTech group, local schools, and the larger Bay Area community. Online, we will share our experiments, progress and innovations through our website. With this increased exposure, our goal is to grow the OpenAg community membership to double its current level over the next year. Doubling the community size means exponential growth in product development, which will help accelerate us all toward building our own PFC.
We are ready to get this project off the ground. I have spoken with @Caleb (who just made a pledge yesterday!), OpenAg’s community liaison @Webb.Peter , and a number of members from the industry, and they’re all excited to see this project happen. But to make it happen, we need your support! The Digital Farm Lab is live on Kickstarter right now and we have raised over 30% of our funding. Help us bring this project to life! Any backer amount is helpful, even at $5, because the number of backers will show the crowd just how serious our community is.
Here's the campaign:
Thank you for your consideration,
"Once a community gets going, it starts generating absolutely mind-blowing ideas of its own [...] I think this is the reason DIY communities are such a powerful tool for tackling bold challenges. You can go big because you don't need to know how to pull something off ahead of time. The community shapes the path and accelerates the process. It's a shocking amount of leverage."
-Gina Bianchini, co-founder of Ning (with Marc Andreessen), the largest online community building platform