I live in St. Louis MO, and recently became the entrepreneur in residence at Tech Shop when it opened up last month. I have been interested in hydroponics, and have been following these forums since they were developed. I am developing a class that I will be teaching at Tech Shop, where the participants will build their own small hydroponic garden. Through the OpenAG forums, I met @ferguman who is a member of a vertical farm startup located in St. Louis and had already built a Food Computer in town. They shared the same interest to develop a food server, and we are now collaborating to build a vertical farm as a display at Tech Shop.
There is another group here in St. Louis running an aquaponics farm, they have a shipping container, and I have access obsolete LEDs/Fans/Climate Control parts from my employer. I would love as we develop the technology at Tech Shop to begin to deploy it at this and other urban farms and our area. I think there is huge potential for St. Louis to become an AgTech hub. Multiple universities here have given students scholarships to Tech Shop, and there is a very active and collaborative start-up community already established. I do not want to start a for-profit enterprise, I believe my role in this will be to help allocate the right resources from corporations, to enable the right talent to develop and prototype what the future of food production will look like.
I am at the point now, where this is getting too large to just be a personal project. My next steps are filing a 501(c)(3) for a non-profit. While I am completely willing to do this, I wanted to first inquire as to whether there could ever be an "OpenAG St. Louis" or any city for that matter. I know other people on these forums as well have already started networking, and are finding like-minded people in their cities, as your team develops larger farms it will require further collaboration.
I hate fragmentation and would love to somehow get under the umbrella that you are building for safe open source collaboration. I want to focus on open sourcing the hardware portion of this, and prototyping lots of designs for different types of plants, budgets, and resource limitations.