Promoting equity in agriculture and in open source technology

Discuss how the OpenTEAM community, hubs and networks and human centered design process serve to create public equity in access to agricultural resources and knowledge.

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I personally am looking to invest some time in the coming months into educating myself on how our agricultural and food systems are designed in ways that are unjust or unfair to minorities, the poor, and other underserved populations. If anyone has recommended reading, please share.

@ldemmel I second that. Leah Douglas highlighted a good collection of books here on Twitter - https://twitter.com/leahjdouglas/status/1268311969272078337. Also, I’ve been wanting to read “Race after technology: abolitionist tools for the new Jim Code” by Ruha Benjamin (https://bookshop.org/books/race-after-technology-abolitionist-tools-for-the-new-jim-code/9781509526406), and “Automating Inequality” by Virginia Eubanks.

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@kanedan29 Great recommendations. The books you mention seem particularly relevant to our community and work. I hope to get to them soon! Thanks!

Leah Penninman is the owner of Soul Fire Farm in New York and the author of Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land. She travels around the country speaking and hosting “Uprooting Racism in the Food System” workshops.

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The GOAT community relied on the GOSH code of conduct that I think we should consider as a foundation upon which to build- http://openhardware.science/gosh-2017/gosh-code-of-conduct/

GOSH Code of Conduct

The Gathering for Open Science Hardware (GOSH) is a diverse, global community working to enhance the sharing of open, scientific technologies.

We strive to make open science hardware open to everybody , regardless of scholarly or professional background, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, ability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, economic background, country of origin or employment, religion, and other differences. Because we come from different backgrounds, it is important to be intentional about providing respectful, equitable spaces — both online and in person — for our community to come together and engage in constructive, respectful discourse. As our manifesto states: GOSH is used for peaceful purposes and causes no harm.

GOSH is equitable. Equity is different than equality; equality is about treating everyone exactly the same, while equity recognizes that everyone does not start from the same position and so treating everyone the same may leave them in the same uneven positions they began in. For this reason, we are intentional about actively reducing the inequitable barriers that stand between science and those who create, use, and learn from it.

This code of conduct applies to all GOSH spaces, both online and in person…

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I was involved in the Food Solutions Network design team and we began our work (many years ago!) by drafting the following statement: “Food Solutions New England (FSNE) is a regional, collaborative network organized to support the emergence and continued viability of a New England food system that is a resilient driver of healthy food for all, racial equity, sustainable farming and fishing, and thriving communities.”

I suggest that we, as a community, draft a similar statement, obviously not bound by New England or region, that could be elevated in our content.

The most meaningful action we can take is creating useful space for communities of color in ag to take part in GOAT or vice versa. We should actively reach out to those communities to try to (at least) know the places where existing groups are talking (and cross pollinate) or try to talk more often in the same place (to encourage more connection) where appropriate and productive.

I’m outsourcing my responsibilities here (totally recognize that) but could OpenTEAM help with identifying some active members of the black farming / ag tech community to foster better connections there?

@gbathree I appreciate these thoughts. We do have this intention, are actively working to connect with the black farming / ag tech community, and welcome anyone in our community to also facilitate those connections. Do you have ideas of where ag tech communities with people of color are located online? :slight_smile:

@gbathree @ldemmel I am building a global Regen Ag Center of Excellence with Epic Institute.
Diverse wisdom across education, data sources, academics, NGO’s, movements, practitioners, tools/tech is a big focus and I will share this information in this group.
This may be a good place to communicate about GOAT https://www.manrrs.org/

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Hi @jdahly Thanks for the note, and yes, please do keep us posted on your work!

MANRRS is a good suggestion for connecting them to GOAT and OpenTEAM.

I’m also adding a few thoughts shared over another media stream that would add to this topic:

Suggested reading: Farming While Black by Leah Penniman
Suggested listening: A Growing Culture’s Juneteenth Broadcast