$300 Food Computer - MVP


After recognizing this affordable unit “MVP”, now I completed my MVP-I and start the 1st experiment on lettuce.
While I enjoy to observe it, I’d like to know what kinds of recipe exist now. Where can I find them?
By the way I notice the temp/humidity control is difficult for this unit. Is it essential for other plants?


Having an enclosed box gives some control over temperature and humidity (compared to just sitting on a table),but the box gently ‘nudges’ the environment rather than giving tight control.
Temperature and humidity are more reported than controlled. The exhaust fan limits how hot the box gets, but you cannot lower the temperature below the ambient room temperature. How much you can warm it us is dependent on the amount of heat your lights generate.
The MVP can grow about anything. How much temperature and humidity (and CO2) control you need is more dependent on the types of experiments you want to conduct than the demands of the plants.
It is interesting to note that the Space Station (which we are somewhat trying to pattern) does not have a sealed growth chamber. Their temperature and CO2 are the same as the general environment.


Hey everyone, I am wondering if there is a way to adjust the grow cycle by editing some code. I’m thinking about switching to something that flowers and if I could adjust the grow cycle it would be great.
Thanks everyone.


What do you mean by ‘adjust the growth cycle’? What are you trying to modify?
At the current time there is not programatic control to have the system automatically modify variables under specific conditions (ie change light for vegetative growth, pollination and flowering).
You can however manually modify the code to make some changes. Let me know what you are trying to do, and I will try to help.


Yea changing the timing of the cycle to allow for it to go 18 hrs with the lights on. I have some programming abilities, so if you point me in the right direction I’ll try and tinker.


Changing the lights is fairly easy - it is all controlled through the cron settings. If you are not familiar with cron, Google it.
You can approach this in two ways: 1) Directly change cron via:
crontab -e
This will get you into an editor. There are two lines, one to turn the lights on, and another to turn them off; adjust one or the other (or both) times for the duration you want.
The other way is to change the text file (/home/pi/MVP/scripts/MVP_cron.txt). Changing the same two lines. Then run the script:
This script will load the text file into cron.
You will also want to adjust the settings in /home/pi/MVP/python/env.py When the Raspberry reboots, this file is used to check if the lights should be on or off, you can modify the section:
‘Lights’:{‘On’:‘06:00:00’, ‘Off’:‘22:00:00’}

Once we get a web UI built, we are hoping to make adjustments like this something that can be set via the UI.


Thank you very much :slight_smile:


Hell Mr. Webb, I am a Biology teacher at Stockbridge High School, Henry County Georgia. I am very excited learning about this Food Computer and am interested in getting one for my classroom. I do have a Tower Garden from Juice Plus and we have had it for the past two years learning a lot through it. But the Food computer concept is totally controlled and with a well monitored set up with the “brain”. Kindly let me know how to get started to have one in my classroom. We have a STEAM Academy at our school and we are looking for ways to enrich and enhance their learning experience through innovations. Kindly email me any information for us to get started.
Josephine Jeganathan


Not sure which Webb you intended (@Webb.Peter). There is a lot here on the forums (build instructions), and we have details about the MVP in the github.
I suggest you contact @pspeth, he is a teacher who is using the MVP for a couple of schools. We have worked closely with him and he would understand your situation from a teacher’s perspective

We are always available to help make your effort a success. I think the documentation covers the general issues, but ask any questions you like.


Not sure which Webb you intended (@Webb.Peter). There is a lot here on the forums, and we have details about the MVP in the github.
I suggest you contact @pspeth, he is a teacher who is using the MVP for a couple of schools. We have worked closely with him and he would understand your situation from a teacher’s perspective

We are always available to help make your effort a success.


Hey all,

I am building the MVP food computer and am gathering all of the supplies. I was looking at the 4.5 gallon tote that lowes currently sells.

I could be wrong, but this doesn’t look like the one used in the pictures. Has anyone built the MVP lately? What did you use for the bins?

Hopefully this is the right place to ask this, thanks!


So I took another look at the final assembly docs, and it looks like it is using those bins I linked, and the lid is just flipped upside down. Please let me know if I’m wrong there, but I’ll probably just go ahead and order those!


The specifics are not highly critical for the bin. If it fits in the enclosure, it should work. Inverting the lid should get the plants closer to the water.


I am a high school science teacher and my class and I are in the middle of building the MVP. We have tried to run the build script multiple times. We keep getting the error in Red " Failure Building CouchDB." I have checked the wiring, I believe everything is attached correctly according to the instructions. We are using the code from this website https://github.com/futureag/mvp. Please help us if you can.


If you search for 18 quart rather than 4.5 gallons you will find more options at Walmart/Target.


If you are getting the code from github.com/futureag/mvp things should be working. When did you download and run the build? Another school is upgrading and adding some MVPs, and I have been using them to Beta test the latest code. As of two days ago we had all the problems worked out. The latest version (referenced in the ReadMe file) is 3.1.3, is that the version you are building?
CouchDB is the database we are using, but being 3rd party (open source) software, they have occasionally made some changes that trip us up.
If you retry and get the error again, copy the error and at least 20 lines before the message in read and post them. If this is a new problem, I need more details to figure out what you are encountering.


We ran the script again. This is what it said.
You have configured Apache CouchDB, time to relax. Relax.

==> config (compile)

==> b64url (compile)

==> ets_lru (compile)

==> khash (compile)

==> snappy (compile)

==> ioq (compile)

==> bear (compile)

==> meck (compile)

==> folsom (compile)

==> triq (compile)

==> hyper (compile)

==> ibrowse (compile)

==> jiffy (compile)

==> mochiweb (compile)

==> couch_epi (compile)

==> couch_log (compile)

==> chttpd (compile)

==> couch (compile)

Compiling priv/couch_js/http.c

Compiling priv/couch_js/main.c

Compiling priv/couch_js/utf8.c

Compiling priv/couch_js/util.c

==> couch_index (compile)

==> couch_mrview (compile)

==> couch_replicator (compile)

==> couch_plugins (compile)

==> couch_event (compile)

==> couch_stats (compile)

==> couch_peruser (compile)

==> couch_tests (compile)

==> ddoc_cache (compile)

==> fabric (compile)

==> global_changes (compile)

==> mango (compile)

==> mem3 (compile)

==> rexi (compile)

==> setup (compile)

==> rel (compile)

==> apache-couchdb-2.2.0 (compile)

Installing CouchDB into rel/couchdb/ …

==> rel (generate)

WARN: ‘generate’ command does not apply to directory /root/apache-couchdb-2.2.0

… done

You can now copy the rel/couchdb directory anywhere on your system.

Start CouchDB with ./bin/couchdb from within that directory.

rm: cannot remove ‘/home/pi/erlang_solutions.asc’: No such file or directory

rm: cannot remove ‘/home/pi/apache-couchdb-2.2.0.tar.gz’: No such file or directory

09/28/18 09:04:11 : Failure building CouchDB

\033[31;47m 09/28/18 09:04:11 : Failure installing CouchDB \033[0m

\033[31;47m 09/28/18 09:04:11 buildScript.sh: Failure running release specific script \033[0m


Sorry for not responding earlier, I am away for the weekend with little connectivity.
From what I see, it looks like CouchDB installed, but the clean-up failed. You should be able to manually run the remaining scripts and get things running.

Let me know if you have any does not work or you have other questions or issues.


I appreciate your help. I am very sorry. I am not experienced with coding or anything like the sort so troubleshooting with something like this is very difficult for me. I ran the remaining scripts, rebooted, and ran the startup script this is what it gave me.
sudo bash /home/pi/MVP/scripts/Startup.sh

Running Startup

chmod: cannot access ‘/home/pi/MVP/logs/*’: No such file or directory

Starting CouchDB

/home/pi/MVP/scripts/Startup.sh: line 17: /home/pi/MVP/logs/startup.log: No such file or directory

Starting Server

/home/pi/MVP/scripts/Startup.sh: line 21: /home/pi/MVP/logs/startup.log: No such file or directory

Check Lights, etc

/home/pi/MVP/scripts/Startup.sh: line 25: /home/pi/MVP/logs/startup.log: No such file or directory

chmod: cannot access ‘/home/pi/MVP/logs/*’: No such file or directory


I know what is happening. Let me run some tests early next week and get back you with a clean build.