Impressive related project: AstroPlant


If you haven’t heard about AstroPlant, you should probably check it out. Thanks to @Webb.Peter for making me aware of them.

When you’re making the choice to invest your time and money in a project–like OpenAg–it’s good to consider possible alternatives. When you’re already invested in a project, it’s good to keep any eye on what the competition is up to. What can you learn from them? Are there opportunities to help each other? If a friend asked you why you’re building a Food Computer instead of an AstroPlant, what would you say? Maybe competition seems like a weird word for an open source project. But, projects based on voluntary collaboration do compete with each other for people’s time and attention. It fits.

I really like AstroPlant’s features page titled, “What does it do, exactly?” because it does a great job of succinctly explaining what features their hardware includes, what it’s meant to do, and why. Their blog also has a lot of good discussion about applying citizen science toward eventually farming in space.

People have mentioned AstroPlant several times here on the forum in passing (forum search for AstroPlant), but I never looked it up or paid much attention before. My mistake. It’s good. Worth a look if you aren’t already familiar with what they’re doing.


@thiemehennis is leading this project. Definitely an impressive team with a lot of good ideas. If I’m not mistaken they’ll be hosting a workshop at SXSW later this year. If any #nerdfarmers are going, I’m sure they’d love to meet up!


wow - thanks for the thumbs up Will. Indeed competition seems somewhat weird, but at the same time, people can spend time and (money?) on either projects. Let’s try to grow both our communities and get as many people engaged with citizen driven technology development, food production alternatives, etc.

Some general notes:

  • The flexible approach we take to developing our infrastructure (the RPi and extension shield can be used as controllers for a multitude of applications) has already led to interesting opportunities, even in the last two days. Yesterday I talked with someone who’s ESA’s lead of the Moon Village project who asked us to build a demonstrator plant experiment based on AStroPlant as part of the Moon Lander. Today an opportunity came across for building an AstroPlant-based (RPi and extension shield) controller to cultivate corals in small aquariums.
  • I will update the blog soon, it’s one of those things that always seem to be lagging behind
  • One of our developers is working with Peter and Howard Webb on plant data modeling, which is quite challenging but also interesting. Thomas mentioned to me he finds the collaboration with Howard very rewarding.

Thanks again for the compliments, hopefully we can keep on learning from each other and that we;re able to create a ‘healthy competition’ where ultimately society benefits most.

PS. Indeed, please drop by at our workshop next week -


AstroPlant is very cool and a great project. Great team.