March 1st West Coast GOAT

Calling all Western GOATs, save the date! :mega: :mega:

CAFF has invited us to do a co-located event with their Small Farm Tech Expo in Madera Community College (just outside of Fresno, CA) on March 1, 2024.

Register here!

We will have some GOATy activities throughout the main event (~9am-4pm) and follow up with a social hour in the evening (~5:30-8pm). Here is what you can expect:

  • The notorious GOAT booth will be on display! Help spread the word, pick up swag and browse the landscape of open agriculture technology represented by the GOAT community.
  • A panel discussion on open source and farm management software featuring team members and farm users alike. This will include GOAT members representing LiteFarm and FarmOS.
  • After the panel discussion, join us for a tech feedback session where farmers and tech enthusiasts can share knowledge and support. Technologists, share insights about your tools, and farmers, talk about your experiences with different technologies—what works and what could be better. Discover how you can actively contribute to shaping and enhancing these technologies within the community.
  • Evening social hour 5:30-8pm at Blast and Brew. Join your western GOATs for an informal gathering. This time is less structured - recap the day, talk shop, and help plan for the future of GOAT!

If you have any questions, feedback or want to help organize, let us know! The current planning team @paul121 @AmberS @ElizabethVaughan @laurieWayne @kylebirchard will meet a few more times leading up to the event. Details to be shared below.

UPDATE: The event was a success! Although the weather wasn’t on our side, we had lots of great conversations and met many interested farmers/growers.


Thanks, Paul! Here is a stream of consciousness collection of notes from today’s call:

The Particulars:

The space:

  • 250 person auditorium
  • 3 classrooms w/50 person capacity each
  • Open air space, exhibition hall featuring small farm innovation challenge winners; others invited to table: LiteFarm, etc.
  • Panel for digital farm mgmt software with emphasis on real-world farm users
  • Organic transition workshop
  • One classroom may be available for GOAT
  • Event ends @ 4pm, then breakdown
  • Panel on digital tech scheduled for 11:30-12:45 or so. LiteFarm, farmOS, & ???
  • Lunch at 1pm
  • Toward end of day: Buyer-farmer mixer? Discussion?


  • What kind of event? Hackathon? Unconference? Panel/Q&A? Casual event?
  • Paul: farmOS user in mind? Amber knows someone who uses farmOS/OFN based in Redding: Shannon Burke (Etherix) also works on agribiz & technology @ local community college
  • Elizabeth: Amber to offer introductory remarks?
  • Amber: GOAT-specific gathering? Or just social hour, all invited? 2 hours Friday evening?
  • Paul: GOAT/farmOS/other digital providers make themselves available to farmer-participants for Q&A, answering technical questions. Not limited to current users of tech.
  • Amber: provide packets/materials to hand out?
  • Kyle: Re: hardware? Elizabeth: the last CAFF event was focused on physical tech, this one is more oriented toward digital technologies. Tech literacy is a big challenge - some farmers barely even use their cell phones.
  • Amber: EcoFarm last year they saw a lot of interest from folks who were not so advanced re: tech, but were looking to level up from, e.g., spreadsheets.
  • Laurie: What kinds of technologies are people using? How does it fit within their environment?
  • Elizabeth: Want to consider language - communities that speak only Spanish, Hmong, etc. Some people still pay by check - don’t use e-payments. People have a wide range of tech literacy, experience.
  • What are barriers to tech adoption? CAFF ramping up needs assessment for 5 Central Valley counties.
  • Amber & others: GOAT+ dinner discussion after event. Brewery mentioned?
  • Can Paul put together thoughts re: session ideas?

Next Steps:

  • Next call: Thursday, Jan 18, 1pm Pacific.
  • Elizabeth: Find afterparty spot, confirm participation of Shannon Burke
  • Kyle: Get to yes/no about tabling specialty crop knowledge platform project with focus on small farms; contact people via commodity commissions: blueberry, apple, cherry, olive oil, table grape, and kiwifruit - see if they can attend.
  • Future conversation w/ Elizabeth and Kyle re: olive oil, small tree fruit producers.
  • All: Figure out logistics: who’s coming in, when, where? Split an Airbnb?
  • Coordinate shipping of GOAT booth

Shared notes from 1/18/24:

  • TODOs:
    • Build digital/paper form for post-session tech needs discussion
    • GOAT Outreach
    • Decide on venue on social hour
    • Funds - CAFF to pay GOAT via OC. GOAT members can individually request reimbursements as needed.
  • After party?
    Elizabeth’s coworker recommended El Patron Autentica Birria Y Comida Mexicana & TJs Bar & Grill (216 E Yosemite Ave, Madera). But feel free to look into other options - breweries, etc.

  • Shannon Burke - Confirmed!

    • Paul to reach out to coordinate farmOS session
  • Kyle to have a specialy crop knowledge platform table! Naming tbd.

    • (Kyle note: the plan is to call the initiative “Open Crop Data,” but I have not finalized the roll-out with our sponsor. I am trying to get a final word by next week)
    • I’ll also send out the word in the crop commission newsletters over the next month.
  • GOAT Booth

    • Might not need to coordinate shipping, making a new booth for PASA
    • Re-up materials
    • Official GOAT vendor contact: Amber, Paul, Juliet (coordinate setup/takedown times, etc)
  • Logistics:

    • Fresno CA nearest airport
    • Madera 1hr North
    • Hotel might be easier/nicer than Airbnb options
    • Hotel options: La Quinta and Springfield Suites by Marriot
    • E.Vaughan flies in at 9:46pm on Thursday night in case someone needs a ride from Fresno to Madera Thursday night.
  • GOAT Outreach!

    • West coast OpenTEAM, might be interested if there is more buyer/market topics
    • Sienna’s outreach list…
    • Oakland PCSC group, ICFoods, Point Blue (Chelsea Carey, Greg Richardson, Quivera Coalition, Fibershed (Siena Shep)
    • We could have a structured time to talk about what orgs/people are doing? (eg: Fibershed P2P verification)

Idea shared by Josh Volk on how to get the audience sharing:

  • “Icebreaker idea - One thought on this that I’ve done in smaller groups (40-80 farmers) and may or may not work in a larger format is an Ah-Ha and Uh-Oh group sharing. The idea is for people to briefly introduce themselves and share just one brief revelation from their previous season - positive or negative - in under a minute. With smaller groups this is done in a circle format, but for a larger group I could see it being done more popcorn style with moderators going around the audience with microphones. It’s a good lead in to a mixer.”
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Apologies for missing the last two meetings. I’m slowly rejoining land of the living.

I will be driving as I live in the SF East Bay. I can support airport pick up for up to 3 people arriving around the same time as long as luggage requirements are on the order of a backpack and small suitcase for each. (I’ll also have the GOAT box)

Regarding when people are coming in and leaving, are you anticipating coming in on 2/29 and leaving on 3/2?

Yes, this is the plan. Flight times are a little limited to what the airlines offer but most of us plan to leave in the morning 3/2. Kyle said he will also have a car and will be flying out 3/2.

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Ideas for the After Party:
I like TJ’s Bar and Grill and I also like Blast and Brew as an option, however it is 15 minutes in the opposite direction as the hotel so TJ’s might be the best option. I like that TJ’s has an outside patio in addition to the indoor space.

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Shared 1/25 meeting notes:

Juliet, Paul, Anna, Amber, Elizabeth, Laurie

- Coordinate/book flights, cost estimates, travel logistics
- Build digital/paper form for post-session tech needs discussion
- Reach out to venues re: availability, capacity and potential cost (Amber)
- Write formal title + descriptions for GOAT activities (Paul will start)
- Paul email Marcus re: receiving funds from CAFF, determine how to receive a check.

Has everybody reserved their room:
YES: Paul, Amber, Juliet, Elizabeth, AnnaYES

Kyle will have a car. Kyle will be able to take people to the airport on Saturday Morning
Juliet will have a car + GOAT box. Could stop at hotel, unload, then pick up other GOATS.

Flight Arrivals:
Amber: 7pm thursday
Paul: 6pm thursday
Anna: will look for somethign that lines up
Elizabeth: 9:45pm thursday


What are we going to be doing?

75 minute panel on farm management systems

CAFF will have an extra room looking for partnerships and collaborations within CA
Is this partnership in Ag Tech?
Simultaneously there will be a Buyer/ Proucer meeting.

So it will mostly be organizations looking for partnerhsips. Like PCSC.

Expo Hours:
9-4:00, break down complete by 4:45 so we can head to after hour event by 5.

After hours event:

5:30 - A way to get producers and GOAT together. Venue options:
- TJ’s bar and grill
- Blast and Brew

T-shirt link: GOAT - Gathering for Open Agricultural Technology – Shop | Worx Printing - Worker Owned Union Co-op

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I will be in the area all day Thursday, so I can coordinate with folks getting in for transpo to Madera.

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I called TJ’s, they said they will not take reservations or hold a space on a Friday night, this is their busiest night. I am trying to get a hold of Blast and Brew.

The GOAT team was :fire: :fire: :fire:!!! Even through the weather was :cloud_with_rain: :cloud_with_rain: :umbrella: :wind_face: :wind_face:!!

I want to thank everyone who attended and contributed to the major success of this event! Thank you to Amber for your panel moderation, Paul & Kevin for your informative and fantastic presentations, and Juliet for detailed note taking, holding down the fort/booth (literally?) and amazing herding skills!! Here is a fun 1 min recap video that captures the energy of the day.