Food Server in Guadalajara, by MIT Enterprise Forum Mexico


Greetings fellow nerdfarmers! This is Erick from Guadalajara (mariachi sounds in the background). I’m a mechatronic engineer currently working in the OpenAg initiative brought here by the MIT Enterprise Forum. I’ve been working here for a while learning a lot from this site, now we are planning to expand our facilities along the country and build Food Server-type installations so people can use the technology and colaborate to create a lot of new recepies.

Design process
As no documentation of the original Food Server V2 has been released, we are aiming to design our own version of the installation and take the base of the PFC Brain software to manage all the components. We will be posting the state and process of this design so anybody can comment and take anything that could help their own building projects.

A little bit of what are we proposing right now: We are taking the measures of the 20ft container to fit six isolated modules from which three of them are for trays using RDWC in a horizontal configuration, while the other three spaces would be using Bato Buckets (Ebb and Flow). The reason why we are trying to have as much of independent modules with their own temperature, humidity, sensors, light and dose control; is so a high amount (up to six) researchers could setup their own experiments at the same time.

With the help of students and researchers of diverse institutions here in Guadalajara, Mexico; we are working in solutions to achieve the making of this space with its appropiate documentation.

This was more of a introduction of our work so I’m just not sure if I should take this same topic to post the next challanges and achievements of the design process or to open new ones for each area.


Floating Platforms for FoodServers

If you haven’t already read these threads, you might want to check them out:

  1. Update from OpenAg - Please Read
  2. Getting the software up and running

Based on what people have been saying about their frustrating experiences with the PFC v2.1 software, there’s a good chance you may encounter serious difficulties if you try customizing it for use with different hardware.


Very excited and interested to hear more!

  1. What have you done previously for a brain/software solution?
  2. What do you intend to use in the future regarding a platform to share recipes?
  3. Are you currently working with anyone at the Bates Lab to use those designs?

You may be interested in this thread I put together a long time ago. It also has tons of pictures of the Food Server that was at the MIT Media Lab.


Thanks for the references. I am aware of the problems encountered with the Brain software so it is likely for us to just take the structure of the software and make a different version (within the ROS capabilities). Right now we just had run isolated tests.


Hello Peter! I apologize for the time that I’m taking to respond your questions, there is a lot going on here.

  1. We have been using a custom build using ROS Indigo on the Raspberry Pi just to connect just a few sensors with our HVAC alternative, so far. We are aiming to start with the dosing module soon.

  2. This one is interesting because the MIT Enterprise Forum Mexico is building a colaboration code so this new Food Server get’s open to any researcher or agro-entrepreneur to run experiments and test validations, but in exchange of that they would aquire the responsability to document and publish a recipe. From there, I could manage to gather all of those recipes and publish them on the Git repo, or at least that is what I had in mind to centrilize all those aportations.

  3. No, we had only been working with our colaborators in Guadalajara wich are mainly the CINVESTAV (research center) and 5 local universities. The thing is that in the past we only had basic activity using the equipment donated from the Media Lab, now this equipment is going to be relocated in the south of the country and we are taking this opportunity to make a redesign and optimization of the system to fit better in our social, economic and geographic context.

Yes! In fact, I’ve been following that thread from a few months ago. It is truly remarkable the amount of information you had gathered, I also noticed that you were designing an aquaponics module for the Food Server in St. Louis which I’m really interested to know more about. I’m glad you find this thread interesting and I’m sure we will be able to help each other in the future.


Food Server Documentation (Shipping Container Farms)

So… things have changed.
We end up moving our offices, which is great because we have a lot more space here! The thing is that now the area destinated to make our OpenAg installation is on the outside. Because of this, we decided to be more practical to use containers and avoid structure manufacture. On the first picture of this post you can see the avaible space and in the other a preliminar render of our proposal to the installation layout using two 20ft containers, the one on the ground aimed to be a smaller version of the Food Server v2.0 and the other being a office/coworking space so researchers and collaborators can prepare their experiments.

Adapt to survive
We definitely enjoy the fact of having more aviable space but I’m afraid about the repercussions of locating the container with the Food Server system in the open. Also, this containers do not have an integrated HVAC system so we are looking for a suitable solution for this. I was thinking (in addition to the HVAC) that maybe some kind of coating could be applied to reduce the impact of the sun in heat increase and also extern humidity damaging the metal, which would also be useful in the inside.

My next concerns are related to the electrical and hydraulic infraestructure, I’m working on having an estimated power consumption to make sure that the supply we have aviable would be enough and then prepare safety connections and regulators. About the water, we have access to a near water intake, I’m just not sure if we would need to add a filter/sanitization station to ensure the quality of the water before getting into the hydroponic system.

As always we would be glad to hear any ideas and recomendations. We will keep working hard to build the best version of this system in Mexico and will be sharing our findings and progress.