Introduce yourself to the Western North American GOAT community!

Hi Folks!

If you’re in the GOAT community and you are based out of the western part of the North American continent let us know here! We’ll be organizing regional GOATs, and otherwise gathering for GOAT-like things. Drop your name, location, and initial gathering ideas here!

Here is a template you can copy-paste into your response.

**Name:** Your Name
**Location:** Your Location
**Gathering Ideas:**
* Idea 1
* Idea 2
* Idea 3

I’m tagging a few people here to get this thread started. If I didn’t include you, its not personal, I just forgot where you live :slight_smile: .

:goat:@laurieWayne, @ElizabethVaughan, @paul121, @AmberS, @hopeCAL, @Joel_McClure, @courtney.king, @kylebirchard

I’ll go first!

Name: Juliet Norton
Location: East Bay of California
Gathering Ideas:

  • Every-other-year regional gatherings,
  • Quarterly Bay-Area Social Hours (I’ll host one in my town first!),
  • Meet up at Eco Farm? I’d also love to meet up at other regional events relevant to GOAT
1 Like

Yay thank you @julietnpn! Here is moi:

Laurie Wayne
Sometimes Humboldt County, CA, sometimes Portland, sometimes Washington
Gathering Ideas:

  • Annually, alternating with a big goat conference
  • Seems like a map would be cool for some reason (even nationally) - thinking a directory we could use to connect with each other and to do introductions as we meet folks who live near each other but might not know it
  • Monthly or quarterly catchups would be cool but could we keep it up?

Possible locations for an annual in-person - a beautiful natural cheapish place that’s fairly accessible, during a time of year when farmers could come (so, winter)

  • Co-locate with an existing gathering - Ecofarm/Asilomar (Carmel in January) is nice, California (or Oregon or Washington) small farms conference - CA has an advantage maybe because of the glorious tech hub,
  • Pick a cool farmy retreat-y place - Paicines Ranch, Lopez/Skagit in WA, or a known person’s private land or big Hipcamp situation or something like that

Kyle Birchard
Portland, Oregon
I have a few gathering ideas:

Fundraising workshops: These could be in-person, virtual, or hybrid. The idea would be to provide a venue for people to offer up projects that could benefit from a little extra “oomph” in the form of dollars, resources, and tech.

In our developer funding session on Tuesday, the group hit on what I might call a portfolio approach for funding activities. For example:

  • Friends and family
  • Crowdfunding
  • Investors
  • Contracts (government)
  • Grants (government, but maybe philanthropic)
  • Corporate sponsorship
  • Developer charity
  • Product sales (e.g., farmOS/Farmier)

The format would be something like: everyone who wants to bring a project can do a brief walk-through, then with help from others, identify fundraising resources, timetables, and maybe put together some boilerplate application text based on common RFP requirements. Then, we can track progress and create a venue to share successes and things we learn!

A second idea is organized meetups with people in the university and private sector ag tech worlds. I know an early-career faculty member at Oregon State University who is starting to convene a group focused on new hardware and software technologies for ag research. OSU has great ag engineering and data science programs, and Washington State University has a number of centers that might be interested. I have also struck up a relationship with a regional economic development agency in the Salem area that is quite active in connecting tech folks with farmers and food people in the region.

I would be happy to take on tasks related to local logistics.

1 Like

@jtwood, @GOATforMikeD, @kcussen

Hey I love oomph! Can you help me understand how the meetups would be different from a pitch (I mean the kind that are often for venture and other funders)?

Name: Amber Subers

Location: Scottsdale, AZ

Gathering Ideas:

  • I like the idea of meeting annually, alternating with the big conference, and the map/directory would be a great tool

  • We should keep the themes flexible so we can address relevant events

  • That’s all I’ve got today :slight_smile:

Anna Lynton! Located in Seattle, WA and super excited to connect with ya’ll further

Hi All!

  • Elizabeth Vaughan

Location: Southern CA - split between Santee CA (San Diego County) and Oxnard, CA (Ventura County) through mid 2024.

Gathering Ideas:

Excited to hear about OSU’s programs. I’d love to learn more about that or have that be a place to visit!

Cheers, Elizabeth

Sure! Speaking from my own experience, a lot of my work falls into the research/R&D world, with a focus on integrated pest management and landscape-level management. One clear way to get resources is through the grant model. Applying for these grants is a pain.

Here’s an example of how a Fundraising Workshop might work. Imagine something like a two-day workshop. We would need a facilitator (not me! I’m terrible at it) run through a process like:

  1. What are you bringing into the world? What needs are you hoping to meet?

  2. More specifically, what do you need to do to make that happen? (support your research lab, increase your nonprofit’s capacity, build a company…)

  3. To the extent that the issue involves funding, what are your best options?

  4. Once you settle on the best options for you, can you build a repeatable process for getting the resources you need?

  5. Then, you spend the second day building that process

Funders like USDA, National Science Foundation, SARE, FFAR, et al., have pretty standardized applications. Can we templatize them and make them available? There is some precedent for this with NSF and USDA’s recent requirements for Data Management Plans (DMPs) in funding applications. There’s a whole website devoted to sharing successful DMPs:

What if there was something similar for USDA AFRI grants? Or the big multi-year programs like OREI and SCRI? Or the Equipment Grant Program?

At any given time, there are usually a handful of funding opportunities open at the federal and state levels that could support the kind of work I do, but I am lucky if I even get to applying for one out of ten. If I could get that to three or four, that could level up our capacity to do the work we need to do.

I don’t know the situation in academia, but I do remember back when I was in school, my department was busy cutting resources for grant application support. I can only imagine it’s gotten worse since then.

Anyhow, compared to events where people present already-developed pitches, this would be more of a venue where these pitches (in a way, a grant funding proposal is a bit of a pitch) are created.

Thanks @kylebirchard for tagging me in - been a little sidetracked by the covid

Jennifer (JT) Wood
Action oriented ideas like Kyle’s
Co-located with grower events as Laurie suggested
Map idea is fun - could intersect with Network Mapping some of us embarking upon

Also - What qualifies as Western?
Within the Physical Divisions of the United States (Fenneman, 1946)

Hi Folx!
Micah Elm
Southern Oregon
-Really just found this group thanks to @laurieWayne. Thank you!
Gathering ideas

  • So I don’t have much to add, but the ideas yall have suggested sound great. The meeting monthly/quarterly has worked for a group I do some volunteer work from time to time. Every 3 months is a pitch meeting to build ideas or stakeholder possibilities for funding.

Name: Tom Watson
Location: Grass Valley, CA (between Sacramento and Tahoe)
Gathering Ideas:

  • Could possibly inquire about hosting a gathering at a nearby property that a friend owns

For wider context, I am part of the team working on Hylo, an online platform for communities with a purpose. We partnered with OpenTEAM last year to start crafting the platform to support farmers and those operating in the food systems space.

1 Like


I missed this previously, oops!

Name: Courtney King
Location: Gunnison, CO (but have some flexibility to travel within the region :camping:)
Gathering Ideas:

  • In person, someone mentioned the possibility of doing a case study, project, whatever you want to call it – a problem or opportunity to address for a specific farm/area with a CONCRETE solution that would nonetheless spur broader conversations. I think that would be a great way to harness the power of this community, and potentially get us all to work!

  • While some people in person had private land/ideas for farms we could visit, I do agree that meeting around already existing meetings would be preferable for encouraging farmer participation.

  • I can vouch for the beauty and interesting agricultural context of the Intermountain West, and can look into connections with my alma mater if that’s of interest, but unfortunately don’t have any personal connections/places a gathering could be hosted at this time.

  • I don’t have any personal connections with the Quivira Coalition, but they would be an amazing organization to do something with in the future! Potentially around their “Regenerate” conference.

  • I’m not sure how many in-person meetings I would be able to make each year, but like the idea of smaller events spread out across the region that folks can attend as makes sense for them. I also think staying in touch virtually, likely quarterly, would be great.


Hey @TomWatson! Glad you poked your head in here. I’m looking forward to learn how things are unfolding with OpenTeam as a use case for Hylo.