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[Post]Card from Iowa, Part 2: FarmHack

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Farm Hack

Farm Hack in action

If you thought hacking is just a way for computer geeks to take technology into their own hands, think again. Now there are farm hacks, an innovative way to marry farming with technology to create new solutions to old problems. Farm hacks are events created through a program, appropriately called “FarmHacks,” organized by the National Young Farmers Coalition. Kristen Loria and Grant Schultz co-coordinated this year’s first ever Midwest Farm Hack in Mechanicsville, Iowa, a two-day event with a focus on on-farm energy production.

FarmHack is actually a forum for new and older farmers to connect and collaborate. It’s a space to brainstorm common problems through web-based mediums and nationwide events that attract not only farmers but also those more tech-savy.

With ideas spanning from the “quadracycle” (a machine that allows farmers to lie down while berry picking) to a solar-powered chicken coop, this year’s event was deemed a success.

Kristen highlights FarmHack’s ability to embody a unique approach that is a “very practical, concrete project.”  It builds from the community and interpersonal connections to create a new  form of agriculture fosters that overcomes common challenges.  FarmHack draws from communication and collective “creative ingenuity” rather than relying on “capital and input intensive solutions” that are traditionally utilized.

Kristen Loria coordinated this year’s first Midwest Farm Hack in Mechanicsville, Iowa, a two-day event with a focus on on-farm energy production. Kristen understood this event not only as a chance for farmers to think, tinker and talk about innovative approaches to age-old problems but also as a chance to begin discussions on widely shared agricultural problems. She intends for this to give more people a chance to become engaged and invested in the local food systems around them. Kristen became involved in Iowa’s Farm Hack through the Greenhorns, an organization dedicated to inspiring, recruiting and supporting new farmers with programs, events and multimedia resources.

Finally, Kristen tells us, “FarmHack provides the necessary support and relevant dialogue once the event has ended to allow for “long term communication and collaboration among people from all over the country.”

Want to find when a Farm Hack will be held near you? Visit


Written by inevins

August 5, 2012 at 5:31 pm