Shall we try with Eco-Farm one more time?


Remember this post, way back when? When we tried to figure out a way to get on farmers’ radar about open source technology?

I just read an email saying that proposals are due tomorrow for talks and workshops. especially if you are in California (since I think it will be in person next year), would you like to maybe start with last year’s proposals and massage them to make them interesting-seeming, and partner up to propose something? It will make the 5th year I have tried to get open source on their radar, and maybe this time it will work! Waddaya say? Please ping me if you’d like to take a swing together (or of course you can just take a swing yourself). is an ok address.

Mo info about conference proposal:


I submitted something with the full expectation that it will be rejected, which is probably the magic recipe for getting accepted. Here it is! a mishmosh from previous proposals (if you hate it, please feel free to submit a different version of it! Deadline is in 8 hours):

Open Source Tools for Prosperous Farmers and Strong Communities
The right software tools are as indispensable to your farm as shovels, seeds, and water. A global community of farmers, software developers, and activists is collaborating every day to create free and low cost open source software that supports your operation and your local food system, from crop planning to sales, while sharing your values and protecting your data, and the software doesn’t suck! Hear from this community and get the scoop on new developments from the Gathering for Open Agricultural Technology held in the fall. Join fellow farmers who have embraced open source’s free-range philosophy as they walk you through the basics of their open source toolkit, show you a few ways it can help you be a more successful farmer, and debate the pros and cons of digital technologies, open source or otherwise. We’ll reserve some time for discussion and hands-on play with software tools.

I can’t remember if this is rejection number 4 or number 5. Gee, it seems like open source is such a no-brainer for agroecological farmers but somehow it’s not clicking still (or someone else is doing a better job of clicking). What’s the secret sauce that’s missing? Any guesses??

Dear Laurie,

After careful consideration, your suggestion “Open Source Tools for Prosperous Farmers and Strong Communities” was not selected as an official workshop by the EcoFarm Planning Committee for the 2023 EcoFarm Conference. It was truly a difficult task to choose from the almost 200 submitted workshops this year. If you believe the omission of your workshop would be detrimental to the overall Conference, please let us know by replying to this email. We are grateful to our passionate community members who advocate for needed workshops, and would welcome a conversation with you.

The EcoFarm Conference depends on workshop and speaker suggestions from community members. Thank you for your submission and please consider submitting your suggestions again for the 2024 conference. The submission process will open on our website,, this coming spring, 2023. There is a chance that your submission will be automatically reconsidered for the 2024 EcoFarm Conference as well. Please let us know this Spring 2023 if you’d like to check on the status of your submission. If you have any questions, please respond by replying to this email or by calling me.

Thank you again and we hope to see you in January!

The EcoFarm Staff

Thanks for trying to spread the good word of open source Laurie, sorry your proposal didn’t get accepted :frowning:

I’m not very familiar with EcoFarm but have some guesses as to part of what may be going on…

Like many systems change oriented initiatives these days, I see they have an increasing focus (rightly so) on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Introducing anything related to technology into food systems conversations and events has always been tricky for me. With heightened sensitivity around DEI there are even more framing and translational challenges.

In my experience many want to focus on the social justice and ecological sustainability aspects, and are suspicious of anything that looks even remotely like white savior techno-solutionism. And there are many examples of technological solutions presented as tools for empowerment actually worsening equity issues (e.g., ghost kitchens and the Uberification of everything).

Perhaps one way to generate interest in open source tools and approaches is to first acknowledge the dangers and past failures of technology, then explain how open source solutions offer the potential for greater self-determination, cooperation, and sovereignty, and true systems change over the long term. For example, within the context of multi-stakeholder platforms and platform cooperatives.

Folks like Jahi Chappell articulate some of these challenges and opportunities quite well within the context of “political agroecology” and “socio-technical transitions” which can disrupt and eventually replace existing regimes of dominance. Jahi and several other co-authors unpack a lot of this in their open access book Agroecology Now! and elsewhere, including this article which has the image below visualizing some of these dynamics.

I’m hoping to introduce some of this and get feedback within the context of a workshop at the GOAT 2022 gathering. I’ll be sharing an outline here of what that might look like before then. One focus will be on the work of Elinor Ostrom around commoning, and how applied approaches like Prosocial’s ARC process can help facilitate participatory development processes and socio-technical transitions :nerd_face:

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Hey Jeff - I think you’re spot on. I would really really like to have a session on this (let’s make sure it’s get in the unconference part!) because I feel like there’s a lot of unexplored territory for discussion. Sounds like yoiu’ve got a nice framework for it.

Great, glad this sounds relevant and interesting Greg! I hope we can explore this challenge/opportunity space together from a variety of viewpoints :slight_smile: