Collaboration with other communities, especially free/open source?


I had a look at the web site, you have a list of partners and sponsors but apart from the Mozilla Foundation I didn’t see much about OpenAG and the free/open source movement.

Has anybody thought about collaborating with other organizations and running demos at some events, for example:

  • at a community level, the Debian Project is very large and diverse and many developers and users would find this quite exciting. On a technical level, a full Debian Blend for the PFC could be a powerful way to distribute and support the software at scale. DebConf (August, Montreal) is currently looking for proposals and this could be a great way for somebody from the OpenAG community to attend and run a workshop on this topic.

  • the FSF’s LibrePlanet community (and annual conference) appears to be a great place to find like-minded people very close to home for the OpenAG community

  • there are other large events in the free/open source world such as FOSDEM (Brussels), it would be great to see a PFC on display there in front of 5,000 hackers next year

Looking at DebConf in particular, the event involves a DebCamp (week 1) + DebConf itself (week 2), does that provide enough time to grow anything meaningful or at least grow half of something?


I love this idea. I would like to see OpenAg at more conferences related to CEA, and Indoor Agriculture, but I think you’re absolutely correct in pointing out this opportunity as well. It is hard to find willing volunteers in this industry as the demand for talent is so high. I think there may be a much more willing (and technically capable) volunteer base in the open source community than the ag-tech community at this point.

Two weeks is a bit short to grow anything but microgreens, what you could do is bring seedlings with you at about 16 days, and by 25-30 days they’ll be mature edible plants.

How are you currently involved in the Open Source community? Have you built a PFC?

Very interested and supportive of this idea!



I’m a Debian Developer (one of several hats I wear) and I came across the project recently. I haven’t tried building a PFC yet but I almost immediately spotted some opportunities for raising awareness of it both within the free software world and also in the region where I live.


I am new to the open source community and would appreciate any insights you have about getting plugged-in (I’m located in St. Louis MO).

Additionally, I saw that Caleb will be speaking at the Red Hat Summit so I’m sure there will be many people in the open source community who get the opportunity to see him speak then.

I do agree though, that having a more formal presence would be valuable!



I think it is great that this will be featured at Red Hat Summit, but if you look at the prices for the event:

and compare it to other events like DebConf, LibrePlanet and FOSDEM (which are both free) you will find that they are very different audiences and OpenAG probably benefits from having a presence in all of them. The type of person who is building things out of curiosity may not be able to afford Red Hat Summit but you may well find thousands of those people at FOSDEM.


Peter, on your question about how to get involved in the free software community, some suggestions:

Many projects have lists of local groups and meetings, unfortunately I don’t see MO on the list here:

but another good place to start would be looking for a Linux User Group (LUG), it looks like they are looking for a topic for their May meeting:

so you could even propose OpenAG as a topic there and then promote it through places like Meetup.

You can also try joining some of these organizations and mailing lists:


@pocock I have to agree with your point that the type of user who is likely attracted to this project and going to get involved is more likely to be at one of the free conferences. I agree that a presence at both is definitely valuable, but you have a great point and I appreciate your insight about the differences.

I think a third audience and perhaps the most likely to get engaged would be those formed around open source hardware. Raspberry Pi, or Arduino maker groups will likely have not only interested members but experience and the ability to contribute.

Thank you for all of the links to the Open Source communities, I will definitely reach out to the LUG here and join some of the mailing lists.


I find it helpful to pay attention to other forums and search the words “plant” “hydroponic” “grow box” and it seems like anywhere I look I find someone trying to build a Food Computer, they just don’t know it yet. Having been that person myself for almost a year, I feel it’s helpful and won’t be seen as an annoyance or spam to point them towards OpenAg. I think this is a way that we can all actively try to connect other people who have a genuine passion for this research together.