Jeff Piestrak

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6 years 8 months


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In 50 characters or less... Posted by Post datesort ascending Last comment Number of Comments # of Comments new to you
Growing Power Urban & Small Farms Conference Request for Makers, Hackers and Healers Jeff Piestrak Sunday, June 1, 2014 - 12:20pm Sunday, June 1, 2014 - 12:20pm 0
Digital Public Library of America -a treasure trove waiting to be hacked Jeff Piestrak Thursday, June 20, 2013 - 10:25am Thursday, June 20, 2013 - 10:25am 0
Why are you interested in Farm Hack? Jeff Piestrak Thursday, May 30, 2013 - 3:41pm Thursday, May 30, 2013 - 10:43pm 2
Farmer Dashboard Design Charrette Jeff Piestrak Monday, July 30, 2012 - 5:37pm Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - 9:44am 4

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I've been following the work of a Code for America sponsored project called Open Referral, "developing common standards and open platforms for the sharing of community resource directory data — i.e., information about the health, human and social services that are available to people in need." Their process, detailed in their Google Group forum, has been fascinating to watch, and a potential model for developing Open Farm/Open Food data standards....

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This sounds like a fantastic idea -get 'em hooked on hacking while they're young. And maybe help shift the mindset of institutions they are a part of from one of top down technology transfer to collaborative innovation! If some thought were put into how this could be implemented I might be able to entice students at Cornell...

Cheers, Jeff

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Sounds like a great time R.J.! Sorry I won't be able to attend, but I'd like to nominate the Farmer Dashboard tool concept, or some variation of that you all might come up with. A browser based dashboard would be good. If feasible, something that could be embedded within a Drupal site (module) would be awesome, something Dorn and I might be able to run with.

Some possible data sets, models, related tools to look at/adapt, with an emphasis on mapping (full list here and here): *Vt. Food Atlas data. Atlas developers Vermont Design Works will be there and have shared API information. Participants will have full access to Atlas data. *Google Fusion Tables *SoilWeb *Local Food Marketsizer *CropScape -see developer guide *EPS-HDT Socioeconomic Profiles *USDA ERS Data *Meat, Poultry and Egg Product Inspection Directory *Farmers Markets *National Digital Forecast Database *OpenGeoportal -for example, see GeoData@Tufts, where Web Services can be generated for select data sets, including 2007 Ag Census, WFS, WMS *'s Business Ecosystem Tools -They have agreed to share their code with the NEFKE project. We will be creating a regional data hub/registry of people, organizations, and projects as part of that project (likely using DKAN code). *If you all get really ambitious, perhaps you could look at creating your own DKAN installation

Code on!

Cheers, Jeff

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Though by no means does this encompass all the reasons I support Farm Hack, something to help stimulate/provoke thought from this recent article from TechCrunch:

The emerging Internet of Things — essentially, the world of physical devices connected to the network/Internet... is experiencing a burst of activity and creativity...the ultimate prize for many ambitious players in the space is to become THE [emphasis added] software platform upon which all vertical applications ...will be built...Large corporations (GE, IBM, etc.) are very active in the space and are developing their own platforms. Carriers (AT&T, Verizon) have a large opportunity in the area, as well...whether the winning platforms are open or closed will play a huge role in the future of the space...The related area of connectivity (connecting objects to the network/Internet and to one another through all sorts of rules) is also a very significant opportunity.

I see Farm Hack as a potentially important OPEN space or platform that can not only serve as an engine of creativity and innovation, but play a role in helping shape this internet of things in a way that serves the best interests of farmers and people in general, not just large corporations...

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I've created a fairly extensive list of ag and food related data sources on my Food Systems Reference guide: General data sources are here, and spatial data/maps here.

We're hoping to migrate the GIS data repository I help maintain at Mann Library, CUGIR, to an open source collaborative platform called Open Geoportal, enabling more seamless data sharing/discovery. It already provides some useful capabilities like web mapping/preview, but we'd like to extend those if possible, possibly in conjunction with GeoNode, which the MetroBoston DataCommon uses.

Here are some additional potentially useful resources specifically related to data management and sharing: -At Cornell we've developed a Research Data Management Service Group (RDMSG) to assist folks here in working with and managing their data. -Open Knowledge Foundation (OKF), non-profit organization dedicated to promoting open data and open content in all their forms - including government data, publicly funded research and public domain cultural content. Projects include: *CKAN, a free open source data management system that makes data accessible by providing tools to streamline publishing, sharing, finding and using data. CKAN is aimed at data publishers (national and regional governments, companies and organizations) wanting to make their data open and available. *Open Data Commons - a set of legal tools helping users provide and use Open Data

Cheers, Jeff

P.S. Attaching a DRAFT late breaking addition to a International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists (IAALD) conference I'm helping organize this summer at Cornell. The first session of that post-conference event on OPENING ACCESS TO KNOWLEDGE IN AGRICULTURE: "A collaborative discussion about how to get started in the area of agricultural data management among partners, presented in a simple, practical way". That and the conference itself might be of interest to some....

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Great to see some interest and enthusiasm around data standards! (usually a hard sell in my outreach work...)

Louis, NEFKE is in the very early stages of development, still (and hopefully always) very open to the participation and input of others like you. We're looking at the standards mentioned as a guide, but have a lot of work to do toward implementing them in a practical way.

The first thing we'll likely do is look at how we can better leverage and link existing organizational and network data via the Farm to Institution New England and NEFOOD web sites when we migrate them to Drupal. We'll likely extend the VIVO ontology for that, possibly using the Drupal-based ontology editor Neologism Valeria Pesce used for AgriVIVO. This will be supported and articulated through group value network mapping exercises that will enable us to identify the critical pathways and relationships between transactional food value chain players, and the wider support networks. I can see this something like this possibly happening at one of the upcoming Farm Hack gatherings, combining trained value network mapping facilitators with farmers, value chain intermediaries, support people (including info intermediaries like me) and programmers.

In terms of data sharing and staging, we'll be looking at ways Drupal can be used to shared linked data using tagging/metadata, e.g. via RDFa. I'm hoping we can secure additional funding to do that in a more expansive way at some point. I'm having lunch with the former President of the Data Commons Cooperative in a couple weeks to explore that particular model.

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One of the prerequisites for sharing and integrating data across actual and intellectual silos, and within larger decision making frameworks, are consistent and well documented open standards for creating/structuring and sharing/publishing that data. Here at Mann Library we've been working on that issue through our development of the VIVO network, which has evolved to include the USDA, and now internationally as AgriVIVO, using and extending the VIVO ontology ( In several cases we've been able to capitalize on Drupal’s ability to both publish and ingest “linked data” like that generated through the [VIVO network](see

Related efforts like the Open Food Data and the Coherence in Information for Agricultural Research for Development movements are working on this as well. Once we have agreed upon standards, it becomes much easier to develop shared tools and networks for using and repurposing data. This is illustrated through the explosion of easy to use GIS tools as the result of Geospatial Web Services.

I'd love to see the Farm Hack community take this up in earnest, perhaps partnering with NESAWG on our Food Knowledge Ecosystem project, and others like AgSquared, and Public Lab.

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Hi R.J., OLE's work is fascinating to me -hope to learn more! You can find a wealth of curriculum resources on my Food Systems reference guide here . You might find useful resources scattered throughout the guide elsewhere too.

Cheers, Jeff

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Great stuff R.J. -thanks so much for your thoughtful and enthusiastic comments. Yes, there is indeed an opportunity to join us in Ithaca! Would you like to co-lead this with me?

I'm not a programmer, but do work closely with our IT staff here at Cornell's Mann Library in leveraging ITC tools and platforms to connect people with each other, and the data and information resources they need to be successful. In fact our library has done a lot of work with Drupal and open data. Check out,, and more recently AgriVIVO, to learn more about some of this work. We've been developing ways to use Drupal as an interface for ingesting and publishing open data, including our site, which is kind of like a dashboard, that interacts dynamically with VIVO data. Though a bit out of date, this poster describes how:

Perhaps, as you suggested, we could structure the design charrette in a way to generate specific ideas for use of the farmhack site as a farmer dashboard host, possibly leading to some new shared Drupal modules?

I'm currently working with several others on a proposal for a Northeast regional food knowledge ecosystem that could build on/incorporate this work. We're hoping to use Drupal and VIVO as part of this, and work with state, regional and federal data providers to make their data more accessible/usable (Mann Library works directly with some of these agencies, including the USDA, and serves as a repository/distributor for some data).

Our ultimate goal with the regional knowledge ecosystem is to create an open platform based on open standards, that supports further work and innovations from people like you (including paid work). Ideally this would include occasional hackathons.

I'll be meeting with Severine and a few other folks during the Ithaca Farm Hack, and hope to see you there as well! I'll follow up by email shortly to discuss. Cheers, Jeff