Perpetual AMA for Caleb


Big BLOG coming soon on exactly this :slight_smile: you read my mind for a critical need for a deep dive and so I’ve been working on it. Expect it in 2-3 weeks (read as before christmas)


Hey Everyone…V2.0 alpha docs just got released check out the hardware thread :slight_smile:


I live in St. Louis MO, and recently became the entrepreneur in residence at Tech Shop when it opened up last month. I have been interested in hydroponics, and have been following these forums since they were developed. I am developing a class that I will be teaching at Tech Shop, where the participants will build their own small hydroponic garden. Through the OpenAG forums, I met @ferguman who is a member of a vertical farm startup located in St. Louis and had already built a Food Computer in town. They shared the same interest to develop a food server, and we are now collaborating to build a vertical farm as a display at Tech Shop.

There is another group here in St. Louis running an aquaponics farm, they have a shipping container, and I have access obsolete LEDs/Fans/Climate Control parts from my employer. I would love as we develop the technology at Tech Shop to begin to deploy it at this and other urban farms and our area. I think there is huge potential for St. Louis to become an AgTech hub. Multiple universities here have given students scholarships to Tech Shop, and there is a very active and collaborative start-up community already established. I do not want to start a for-profit enterprise, I believe my role in this will be to help allocate the right resources from corporations, to enable the right talent to develop and prototype what the future of food production will look like.

I am at the point now, where this is getting too large to just be a personal project. My next steps are filing a 501©(3) for a non-profit. While I am completely willing to do this, I wanted to first inquire as to whether there could ever be an “OpenAG St. Louis” or any city for that matter. I know other people on these forums as well have already started networking, and are finding like-minded people in their cities, as your team develops larger farms it will require further collaboration.

I hate fragmentation and would love to somehow get under the umbrella that you are building for safe open source collaboration. I want to focus on open sourcing the hardware portion of this, and prototyping lots of designs for different types of plants, budgets, and resource limitations.

Thank You,
Peter Webb.


Great post @Webb.Peter love the idea of chapters - it is a little premature to announce but we have started the open agriculture foundation a 501c3 and it is in early development, more on that later. For now it might be best for us to try to link up and chat can you email me at


Hello Caleb,
Two quick questions. Firstly, do you have an estimated timeframe for the release of the food datacenter? Secondly, if I wanted to purchase a datacenter, do you have an estimate as to how much it might cost?


Hello Caleb,
Another question, this time about v2.0. I was speaking with an administrator at my school this morning and he expressed interest in building a food computer in an unused space in our school and using it to teach students about technology in addition to having them modify it to make it more effective. Does the food computer come in kits that can be purchased and assembled using the materials inside? Would it be possible for us to purchase a kit so we can build the computer or do we need to acquire materials from local hardware stores and do it that way?


Hey all! I’m doing an event at Harvard this morning that is open and streamed free - please join and ask questions! Represent our community to the world :slight_smile:

@bluepearmain interviewing me this am on our work @medialab #futureoffood @pritheworld @HarvardChanSPH watch live @


Hello Caleb, Is it still possible to get a discounted price for the PFC? I am in Stockholm and I would like to build the V2 in our community house called TechFarm.


PS: Great presentation in the NobelWeekDialogue


@Cole its going to be a while :slight_smile: we are focused on the underlying software, hardware and data architecture in research - I might add we will never sell anything from MIT :slight_smile: My advice, start small, CAPX in this space is enormous!! Expect 400-600 USD per square foot and this is without HVAC.


@Cole great question! Currently there is no entity offering consumer kits but I expect this to change in the new year so stay tuned. If you want to start now then its best to work with the BOM we released and start sourcing what you can.


@al_payi thank you!! currently there is no provider to offer the V2 commercially but I expect that to change soon. stay tuned to the forum for updates.


I saw in the alpha documentation a cost of around 900 USD. Is this aprox the same for beta? I haven’t been able to find the price info on the BOM.


HELLO! I just put up some blog posts in the community section that address a lot of the AMA questions. Can you please check it out and then follow up with new ones? :slight_smile: :herb:+ :computer:


Everyone please head over to the community thread and look for a thread called “URGENT Open CALL! We need Nerd Farmer stories ASAP”. We really need your help. Trying to go out to donors to help us be able to give away more PFC 2.0 food computers and get more dev support for the backend/UI/etc

Please and thank you in advance :slight_smile:


@Caleb I recently saw your social media posts of you touring India. We are a group of engineers, designers, product managers, interested in setting up an OpenAg chapter in Powai, Mumbai. We are already in talks with our University (IIT) and will have an update soon on it. If you can take out time to have a breakfast/lunch/dinner/fireside chat, we’d be highly obliged.

We could talk about ways we can take this forward as your inputs would greatly help us in what we are trying to achieve and help us go a long way.


@physiz sorry to have missed this opportunity!! But I travel to India often and look forward to your progress.


@caleb that’s great to know! We are excited and shall have updates on our progress. Currently we are working on multiple version of FC and have been able to bring down the cost of FC 2.0 to 1200$ using similar components from BOM and hoping to bring it down to 500-600$ in next iteration where we are looking to find/build alternative to sensors (C02, pH, Conductivity, Humidity and Temperature).


Awesome! @physiz where are you documenting your progress? wiki? github? would love to dive deeper. A build diary on the forum would be a great place to start.


Dear Caleb,
My name is Alessandro Carleton, and I am in the seventh grade at BCHigh. I am currently working on a school project with another classmate, about how controlled farming affects bio-diversity in plants, just as you are doing with the Food Computer. I was wondering whether you could give us any information about how controlled farming affects the types, or occurrences of genetic mutations in plants, and how this can lead to a shortage of species. What would the most convenient way to discuss this: via Skype, email, phone call, or a short visit by us. We would greatly appreciate your help in our research we are conducting. Thank you for your time and attention.
Alessandro R. Carleton
Boston Collage High School '22
“We stopped looking for monsters under our bed when we realized that they were inside us.”~Charles Darwin


@Caleb I haven’t documented the progress online anywhere, most of it resides on the hard drive. I am planning to put it under build diary on forum and post once every week.