Agronimo

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Agronimo.jpg

Agronimo, launched summer 2014, at Jacob Springs Farm is a loose organization of farmers, makers and tinkerers who seek to overthrow the conventional structures of agricultural technology through the development of open-source software and hardware that directly benefits sustainable, smallholder farms. By creating open platforms in areas like automation, agricultural monitoring and field data collection, farmers can access technological innovation previously thought to be too expensive or inaccessible for anyone but the largest farms to utilize. Community-based development of these platforms makes them more responsive to farmer need, and keeping platforms open-source allows for customization and improvement of technology without the fear of intellectual property disputes or elongated product feedback cycles. Small, inexpensive, meshed networks of data collections devices can additionally enable citizen science, around the area of of agriculture, and to collect and evaluate data. We only get the science we are willing to pay for, and there is a terrible imbalance in the availability or research funding in the agricultural domain of science, citizen science, the "Internet of things" and big data can work together to bring balance to the picture.

In short, Agronimo is attempting to develop software and hardware tools to make the life of the farmer easier, especially for those farmers seeking sustainable alternatives to conventional agricultural systems.


Name and Rationale

GeronimoFarmer.jpg

Geronimo was a prominent leader of the Apache Native Americans during their prolonged conflict with the Mexican and US military in the mid 1800's. Yet he was not a chief. The Apache social organization was largely decentralized and leaders led by example, rather than through formal authority structures. Despite their severe disadvantages and their small numbers, through their determined efforts, these small bands of semi nomadic people were able to hold off the domination of Mexican and US military power for over 35 years from 1850 to 1886.

Agronimo similarly hopes to inspire and work collaboratively, in the spirit of the Open Source movement, to develop small-scale farm tech that can serve as an inspiration and a material help to other farmers who are struggling to manage the complexity of a small, diversified farm. The industrial farm model may have dominance in the marketplace, regulatory capture and economies of scale on their side. Agronimo hopes to promote ecological models of agriculture that counter the dominance of industrial models of agriculture with economies of scope based on biodiversity, locally oriented marketing strategies that capture more of the value chain for small farms and leverage advances in technology to make these challenges easier.

Key Technologies

Photon.jpg

Embedded systems are a class of small, inexpensive, programmable computer chips such as the particle photon that are increasingly networkable and can interface with cellular phones and web technologies to provide monitoring through a wide range of sensors and can trigger industrial controls like pumps, heaters or lights.

Open Source Beehives

We've cooperated with Open Source beehives on projects including the buzz box
Buzz-box-new-image.png
for citizen science and data collection, and the Colorado Topbar.

Projects

  • Eggmobile Controller with door closing, water monitoring and (eventually) feed metering
  • henmulator - hack an old, non-functional refridgerator into a large incubator using microwave parts and embedded systems
    • Recently: rebuilding control unit on a particle photon platform for better web integration
  • Managewater - using inexpensive embedded systems to monitor and control a farms water system
  • Milk cooling chest - hack a chest freezer into an effective milk cooler
    • to do: rebuild control unit on a particle photon platform for better web integration
  • Andre and Elias (Vanee and Andre's eldest son) are working on a Crocodile robot for fun and experience.
Jacob Springs and Agronimo's prototype Henmulator arduino controlled incubator
  • Chick brooder to automate caring for tiny chicks
  • Control Room to measure and regulate temperature, ventilation, lighting and humidity in a mushroom growing room (the cottage cellar)

as we develop it we intend to make presets for cheese aging, meat aging and possibly other environments.

Techniques

  • Jugad irrigation - build simple, low-pressure irrigation systems using recycled or scavenged PVC or other type plastic pipe

CU Student Projects

google

Open source farm program models

Future Project To-Do List

Resources