Need help starting all this


Hi all.
I know this post seems a bit stupid.
but I really couldnt find a detailed full map to start building a food computer and an indoor hydroponic farm.
I am a programmer and enthusiastic about agriculture.
I just dont know where to start. i need some headsup.

p.s: Dear moderators, i know this post might sound lame, if so just go ahead and delete it. thanks in advance.

Open Agriculture Foundation Chapters
Costs of all parts?

Hi Mann23, welcome to the forums!

I think it would be best to start with reading the OpenAg wiki and going through the basics about the Personal Food Computer. Afterwards I think it would be best to go through the decide for yourself what you want to go for (The Minimal Viable Product on a budget or more like the Personal Food Computer). It could also be interesting to read through the top forum posts. I myself am rather new here as well so I’m sure others will know better than me though, but it’s a start :slight_smile:


I agree with @Riggi - there’s certainly a lot of options.

  1. What brought you here / got you interested in OpenAg?
  2. What is your goal of building a Food Computer?
  • Grow Food
  • Learn how to build indoor farm systems
  • Hobby/Side Project
  • ____?
  1. What’s your budget and amount of time that you can dedicate to this project?

Personally, I would recommend starting by growing plants. It’s easy to get carried away with the technology and forget about the plant part, which in my opinion is the most important.


thank you both. @Webb.Peter and @Riggi

@Webb.Peter well first of all, my country will be confronting water resource problems very soon. And traditional agriculture has the biggest waste in water resources.
So that’s my first intention.
I believe indoor hydroponics can help a lot in this matter.
I heard about OpenAg in one of BBC programs and it got me thinking ( your first question )
afterwards I researched and learned about hydroponics and now im here wanting to start my indoor farm system.
having a good background in programming devices like RaspberryPi , Arduino . etc along with agricultural knowledge made me think that I can contribute to this community.

My budget and time dedication are not limited. but decided to start from small scale and then extend afterwards.


Thanks for the fast reply, this is very helpful!

  1. I would suggest skimming through these threads on the forums. They might be of particular interest to you with regards to the long-term goals you have (High-Pressure Aeroponics (HPA) can use as little as 1-5% of the water as traditional ag). I’m going to go out on a limb here and say these forums contain some of the best information available regarding aeroponics. I’d love to be proved wrong, but in all of my research I’ve never found more detailed/accurate/cutting-edge information on HPA topic than these forums (seriously, if anyone reading this knows of another place this is being talked about please tell me):

  1. OpenAg does a great job of bucketing the scale of CEA devices, my advice is to start with the Food Computer. You can either start with the V2 Food Computer or the MVP. It sounds like the MVP might be a little easy for you, but nevertheless, I suggest you read through this thread (I know it’s long) but it provides a lot of context regarding what is necessary to actually grow plants indoors hydroponically: MVP - Product Design If you’d rather jump in the deep end, I suggest reviewing the V2 BOM, here’s a good discussion of it’s status: Bill of Materials question for current PFC v2.0 makers. When you want to start to think larger (always keep the long-term in mind - not everything needs to be made miniature on a PFC), I suggest reading over this thread I try to maintain: Food Server Documentation (Shipping Container Farms)
  • Food Computers - Goal is to learn and do research on plants, not produce food.
  • Food Servers - Goal is to showcase or experiment and learn how to produce food at scale.
  • Food Datacenters - Goal is to produce food at scale.
  1. If time/budget aren’t a problem, I would order an MVP, build it, and then start planning your version of the V2 (not all of the parts are quite available). Start by building a V2 brain, and you can always install that on your MVP, but it will get you started with the hydroponics part which can be pretty tricky!

Hope that helps - feel free and reach out with questions. PLEASE start conversations and provide input from your experience in agriculture, I’m interested to know more about some of the things you’ve learned previously.


I don’t know how to thank you @Webb.Peter :heart_eyes:
I couldn’t ask for more information. this is really what i needed.
I’m going to read every resource you mentioned.
and will keep posted after I start.


Hi Mann,

In addition to the wealth of resources on this forum, which certainly cover the technical aspects of building an indoor farm, there are some other good resources on the ag tech space as a whole: – good introduction to many of the big-picture issues concerning indoor ag – topical lists of resources covering all aspects of indoor ag


Great thread - thanks to veteran nerdfarmers alike for contributing, and welcome @Mann23! @hildreth from the OpenAg team @ Media Lab, here, & chiming in to help our newcomers who might have similar questions.

As @Webb.Peter & @Riggi pointed out - there’s tons of resources for folks who are new to comb through, and it can get overwhelming. the tiny team at the lab is working on ways to make “Getting Started” with Food Computers* accessible & easy, especially for nerdfarmers without a lot of technical knowledge.

OpenAg’s website page “Build a Personal Food Computer” is where we give curious nerdfarmers a quick-start to building a Personal Food Computer - the smallest scale*.

From there, you can dive into the level of details/complexity that match your skills and enthusiasm!

Hope this helps - keep us @openag posted as you grow!

*n.b. Food Computers (the umbrella term that OpenAg uses) are a type of device, like a PC or a 3D Printer, and refers to all scales of controlled environment agriculture devices that the OpenAg community develops.