Hey y’all, just found out about this upcoming event, which looks very interesting and relevant to my own schemings. Not sure I’ll be able to make it, but wanted to share some ideas I’ve been working on, and gauge potential interest from others.
Some background info about me: After 20 years of front line food & ag work early in my life, I’ve been at Cornell’s Mann Library for another 20, engaged in a variety of outreach related activities, including support for a geospatial data repository (cugir.library.cornell.edu) and several other digital resources. I’ve also worked on outside projects over the years as a consultant and volunteer, including an experimental “Northeast Food Knowledge Ecosystem” initiative with @dornawcox, looking at ways we could more effectively link the data and information resources of Northeast food and ag groups together. Partly in response to the lessons learned from that and other projects, more recently I’ve been looking at how Land Grant institutions and libraries like mine can help do some of the heavy lifting needed to support such networked knowledge systems. That includes a yearlong “Land Grant Informatics” fellowship co-sponsored by the eXtension Foundation. I usually point people to this blog post as an introduction to that wide-ranging work (the extension site is currently having issues properly displaying formatted text and images, so referring to IA for now). I presented some of the ideas from this fellowship at the 2017 IC-FOODS conference, hosted by @mateolan and focused on creating an “internet of food”.
I’m now working on ideas for what I hope will eventually be a federated network of “FAIR food data hubs”, making ag and food related data and information resources more findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable. I’ve pasted some text from a draft one pager describing that below. My more immediate plan is to develop a proof of concept CKAN hub here in New York State initially, which will leverage its metadata harvesting capabilities to eventually support a federated network. I’d love to work with others on this and future iterations…
FAIR Food Resource Network Proposal (DRAFT)
Jeff Piestrak, email@example.com
There is increasing awareness that local and regional food systems represent an area of immense opportunity for community and regional development. The 2017 report from the Federal Reserve System and USDA, Harvesting Opportunity: The Power of Regional Food System Investments to Transform Communities, highlights growing mainstream recognition of this potential. It states:
Development of regional food systems not only contribute direct economic benefits to the community, but can also open the door for improved access to healthy food and other positive outcomes that could result in improved community health and a more productive workforce.
A key element of success in this work are asset-based community development strategies which help families, farms, communities and organizations identify, build, leverage and retain multiple forms of health and wealth, equitably, without diminishing future prospects. That includes individual, social, intellectual, financial, natural, cultural, built, and political “community capitals”.
Yet as our and others research has revealed, food systems researchers, learners, practitioners and stakeholders often face significant barriers in efficiently locating and effectively leveraging high quality data and information assets (intellectual capitals) in support of such food systems development work. Many are accessing information from an increasingly distributed array of sources, and may be overwhelmed with the diversity, complexity or reliability of those. Some are also creating, collecting, aggregating and transforming these for their own use with varying degrees of success and transparency, while duplicating efforts and potentially introducing errors.
In response to these challenges and the tremendous opportunities modern information and communications technology (ICT) and expertise offer in addressing them, we propose developing a publicly accessible FAIR Food Resource Network . This networked, socio-technical “open stack”, will link and leverage existing resources and expertise in support of locally grounded, globally connected agrifood systems learning and innovation , including “Farmer Research Networks”.
This informatics work will include engaging the resources and expertise of the existing network of Land Grant institutions, including LG universities & libraries, Ag Experiment Stations, and Cooperative Extension Systems, as well as community, state, federal and global partners (like GODAN). A federated network of FAIR Food Resource Hubs will make a variety of currently disparate agrifood systems related data and information more readily and freely Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Repurposable (FAIR). Recognizing that the success of this distributed sociotechnical network will required development of social as well as technical capacities, considerable attention will be given to supporting “effective use” and co-design of this continuously evolving system, as well as the necessary governance structures.