FarmLab – The Hackerfarm Experimental Farm Plot

Hackerfarm was originally started as a “hackerspace in context”, and that context was agriculture. It’s the reason we started it out in rural Japan surrounded by rice fields and farmers. We’ve been working with locals on various initiatives to combine agriculture and technology and this gave us insight into how things could be done better.

Based on the projects we’ve worked on over the last three years, we decided it’d be useful to have our own farm plot where we can test out concept ideas and designs as well as have a real testbed where we could see how designs could perform in an actual deployed setting. This would allow us to find issues quickly and fix them without having to take a trip out to a remote field. It’s also a more controlled environment where we can supply internet access via Wi-Fi so we can monitor devices and see how they perform.

Farm Lab is also a chance for us to learn more about local farming techniques and experiment with various growing styles in a quantitative way. Adrian, a 30 year veteran agricultural engineer from Mexico, will be experimenting with ideas he’s had with partner planting and assisted tilling. Jacinta is interested in growing techniques, sustainable farming, and the farm data analytics. It’s really exciting to be starting out with this and hopefully it will lead to a lot of useful technologies as well as more collaborations. You can find out more about FarmLab on the hackerfarm wiki.

In the meantime, you can check us out prepping the plot for FarmLab in the gallery above. It consists of moving in bamboo we’ve harvested from the grounds around our guest house for our raised beds, measuring the plot size and contour lines for irrigation and drainage, and planning out where each grow area will be.