We need a user-friendly source of structured, high-quality agricultural data for “grassroots-level” growers.
It must be a system that
- exchanges data with the best open databases that already have a lot of relevant data
- exchanges data with users so that their observations, images, etc. enrich the data for the benefit of all users
- constitutes a guarantee that the data is quality assured, securely taken care of and is always available to a large number of users via various software platforms
Why is this important?
Individuals, associations and small businesses that work with the cultivation of food and other products from nature, are carriers of knowledge and skills of vital importance to the existence of mankind. Although modern industrial production has taken over much of this activity, it is still the case that more than half of humanity is seeking to get their needs covered by this first group, and this without the use of pesticides, insecticides or fertilizers. This is largely due to the fact that in many places there is no financial basis for anything other than traditional methods, but on the other side there is infinite access to cheap manual labor. At the same time many, both in poor and rich areas, know that these traditions carry enormous potential to contribute to the sustainable production of vital raw materials of the future.
If this potential is to be unleashed, these players must be helped by technology. It must happen in a different way than in the big companies:
- electricity rather than fossil energy carriers,
- genetic diversity rather than monopolized and patented universal varieties,
- polyculture and small monocultures rather than large scale monoculture,
- integration with local communities, rather than segregation in shielded farm areas,
Regardless of methods or technology: accurate, complete and up-to-date data must be available.
There is a lot of biological data out there, for research projects, public planning and governance and large agro businesses. And there are is an emerging range of sophisticated tools at disposal for those groups. There are also some tendencies in this direction on the grass root level, but here we have a long way to go. Accessing data, and even more, use the data, is near impossible for this group, because the threshold in regards to competence tend to become too high.
What is the task about?
What we need is to build a bridge between free high quality data, and the average user, and that takes two main components, or groups of components:
A) An open, up to date, standard source of all relevant data (core database)
- general taxonomy and species descriptions
- variety specific data
- cultivation relevant data (sowing date, method, harvesting date, method etc)
- seed production relevant data
- weather and climate data
- soil data
B) Tools that utilizes those data without requiring computer technical skills from the users
- inventory tools
- seed and plant excange tools
- cultivation planner tools
- breeding tools
- business tools
How are we going to do that?
Conceptually and organizationally, the answer is simple:
A) Establish an independent non-profit foundation that maintains, secures and makes the core database accessible
B) Create a network of technology partners around this foundation that develops the tools we need
Technologically, organizationally and financially, on the other hand, it is a large task that will require significant resources and time.
For more information and access to participant pages, contact us via the form below, or call Karl Aakerro, Bi-O AS on 47 29 92 95.