Perpetual AMA for Caleb


Hey All - I haven’t been too active in the forum as of yet. Tons going on as you might imagine. I wanted to open this thread up for people from our community to directly ask me some questions if they want. Email is the WORST and I apologize if you’ve written and I haven’t responded. I’ll be checking this weekly. Look forward to talking.



I know it’s on the minds of most here so I’ll be the first to ask. What can you tell us about the release of version 1.1?

Thanks for all you do,


Hi Caleb, good to see you here on the forum ! I agree with Derek that v1.1 (or is it 2.0 ?) is on my mind, I hope it addresses the software user interface as it now a weak spot in the chain. But to me it is even more important to make this forum more user friendly. More and more information is added and without a proper structure it is of no use to anyone at some point.
Especially new comers find it difficult to get the information they need. I don’t think it that difficult to achieve, but someone has to take action here…


two great questions - give me a couple days :slight_smile: and I’ll report back


Do you have any ideas of how to structure it better? would love constructive input


I made a post for this here: Restructuring the forum
Douglas suggested to go ahead but I didn’t have the right priveleges to do so…
He was going to look into it.


@gordonb @DougieFresh what do you guys think? should we just go with this? It looks like a great way to organize to me - thanks @ToeSmack !


I think we should. Discourse won’t let us add another Admin user though, and you need Admin privileges to create categories. One of us could just create them though.


@Caleb: while you are here on the forum: :slight_smile: : is it possible to disclose the design documents of the PFC v1 ? I think it would be helpful to all us nerdfarmers to understand why things are the way they are. It will make it a lot easier to think about improvements if you know where things come from.


@Peperoni Totally get where this question is coming from if I were building Id need a framework too. Let me see what I can muster up w/ the team. Part of the answer is we were pretty scrappy on V1 and did not focused a lot on design documentation, maybe there is an opportunity to do a community video chat on this? another part is that V2 will be backwards compatible but also will have better design docs (more on that later) to share


@DougieFresh @gordonb sooooooo… :wink:


@Peperoni @Caleb @DougieFresh done.


Fantastic !! I’ll start working on it this weekend. Now I’ll call it a day (20:40 over here…) Thanks !


OK I circled the troops and this is where we are at on V2 :slight_smile:

  • We will be releasing hardware/software etc for the FC V2.0 developer kit on November 15th (le sigh…I know…but this date is solid, we had to push Sept a bit for break in testing and documentation)

  • In the next 2-3 weeks (we will send you all a notice when it goes live) we will also send out a link to the community where you can apply for a discounted or free Developer Food Computer kit w/all parts and components you need (twisting sponsors arm to cough up some dough :wink: ). Some of the new components we have been playing with (air cooling, water cooling, proto LED bar, etc) are a bit hard to source and complex to assemble so we wanted to help people find them. Of course you can still use the BOM to source them yourself if you are inclined :wink:

We have been cranking hard on the V2.0 Dev Kits (im sure you’ve already noticed changes to back end, etc) and are super stoked to share them out.

One last note and solicitation from the community: We want to figure out, together, how to do more successful co-development of FC’s. I think its hard on our part as we get our heads down over here crankin away and miss opportunities to co-dev. We want to do better. The V2.0 should help with a lot of the problems/suggestions we took in from the community on V1.0 and be a better device to work together on as its a bit more structured.

Does anyone have good ideas, resources you could help provide the community to increase our ability to co-dev? I’m all ears and we are noodling on it to…I think we need to look to the creative commons model for inspiration and guidance on how to keep interoperability across mods/hacks/versions and enforce that pretty strictly so that we don’t end up w/weird forks to no where.


How to prepare for PFC 2.0
GROhardware for FOODservers-Release date?


Dear Caleb Harper

I started researching Aeroponics in my senior year of High School and shortly after created my own high pressure system to grow tomatoes, I plan to continue researching the technology at Dartmouth College my freshmen (this) year. I would like to learn about the process your team has been through in developing the OpenAg Initiative, would you or a member of your team be willing to give me a tour of the lab?

Thank you

Camilo Toruño


Sorry @Camilo97 the team gets swamped with visit requests and is also busy cranking but we do a pretty good job of releasing videos, pictures, content and sharing info so if there is something particular you are curious about check the interwebs and this forum and if its not there then open a new thread to reach all the #nerdfarmers!



Hi @Caleb, Hope this feedback helps:

Hm, I think a documentation effort would be useful once the next FC is released. This way it’ll be easier for others to understand the system so they can improve, fork, remix, etc. Also, it would be helpful to know how much of the v1.0 is going to be deprecated so we could document what will still be useful from that version.

Generally, I think documentation is an accessible way for the community to help out. Check out this quote:

from Building Open Source Hardware (page 227)
"Valuable content could be a simple blog post that someone writes about the project. It could be a video, tutorial, or article…Community building even helps in sharing documentation standardization!

The documentation is what keeps the project alive and the community thriving. In a way, the documentation is a good place where past or current contributors can share with future ones. Think of documentation as a kind of asynchronous communication channel."

Since I’m coming from the 3D printing community, here is an example I can offer for documentation inspiration.

Job Postings
I liked @gordonb’s post calling for hackers to help him. It’s provided me a nice project-based way to further understand the OpenAg brain and an opportunity to help the core dev team. Would be nice to see more “job postings” from OpenAg. Check out this quote too:

from Makers (page 120)
"Once you seed your community with content and start attracting users, your job is to give them jobs. Elevate people who seem to be constructive participants to moderator status, and give especially friendly and helpful members a “noob ninja” badge. Once you promote/reward enough of them for doing a good job of constructive community building, you’ll find that members typically help one another, saving you the work.

Advice from other OSHW projects?
Has anyone tried to reach out to Chris Anderson, Adrian Bowyer, David Lang, and other open source hardware champions for advice on building this community and project?



So great to hear this feedback. We’re definitely going to do this from now on! Thanks for being an early part of the community and helping us figure this stuff out in-flight :smiley: :airplane: .

Yes :100:. I love your idea of doing blog posts. As a matter of fact, as the next version gets off the ground, would you be interested in doing video tuts or blog posts?


@gordonb Absolutely! We should talk to sort out the details but initially I’m happy to help with video tuts/blog posts.


@adrianlu a specific request… when you run into something that you wish had documentation, can you file an issue on the respective Github repository requesting docs? The hardest part of of documentation is knowing what you know but others don’t know, you know?