Resource List of Useful Apps for Farmers

Tool Concept


Having noticed a proliferation of farm/ foodie apps and services in the online space, a couple of us farmers got together to review the goods, and sort out the junk from the SUPER. Here's an interpreted survey of the scene. As farmers and activists who are deeply committed to both sustainability and innovation, we are happy to find some useful tools on the shelf, and ultimately urge developers to get grounded in the needs of the farmers and eaters, before making another fancy whirly gig.
Documentation Wiki: 
Existing Apps and Devices

Helpful Apps and Such

  • Ipads- can bring it into the field with the Otter case, not so great about data entry, but maybe.
  • Numbers- An excellent spreadsheet app by Apple inc. for the iDevices and other Apple computers.
  • not free, costs 5 dollars a month (Johnny's is underwriting the first three months for people.)
  • Evernote- synced notes, such as inventory management
  • For pushing task lists between apps and devices
  • Arduino based robots that are attached to sensors in your greenhouse.
  • Mail Chimp- Free for the first 4,000. Tracks who clicks where on your newsletters.
  • Rabbit- all the dates of breeding, palpating, etc.
  • Planimeter- You walk around the edge of a paddock and it will tell you how big it is.
  • Solar Tracker- gives you the position of the sun in the sky, you can track it like a magic wand with your phone. Great for quickie garden specs, for positioning your greenhouse or apple orchard. And for impressing your family as you lay out their victory garden patch.
  • Soil Web- Another app. that’s great for farmers doing assessment of land. Back in the 1930's soil conservation boom (inspired by a horrific dustbowl that reached Washington DC) a total survey of our nation's agricultural soils was undertaken. That data lives on as awkward, but publicly available GIS maps online. It is newly available in app form. Super fun party trick to know what soil lies underneath your feet, or underneath the pavement.
  • Square- A little chip that fits into your iphone and lets you accept credit card payment anywhere! But it’s costly, it costs about 2.7 percent of the transaction.
  • Locavore- Mobile app by the makers of Local Dirt that helps you find farmer's markets and other sources of local food Similar services:,
  • Connects people with educational work experiences on farms. With over 2000 farms in 57 countries, there's something for everyone, from making chocolate in Costa Rica to milking cows in Vermont. Similar services:
  • Ifarmer- Real time inventory control, an iphone app.
  • Carrot mob- Mobbing businesses with customers in order to pressure them to source more food locally, or take steps to make their business more sustainable.
  • Crop Planning Software- open source software to plan and manage planning and scheduling of plantings and more. FarmHack wiki entry has links to download program, source code and link to Facebook - "A LinkedIn for Local Food and Farmers." Social and business networking for producers, retailers, and wholesalers. - if you’re a food business (of any size or type, from farm-to-fork) you tell us where you are and what you buy or sell. We’ll try match-make you with others near you.

Websites for activism.

A CROP SUBSIDY MAP for the entire United States :

New Online-based distribution companies:

We have noticed a proliferation on online-based distribution, home delivery, buyers clubs and other ' online farmers markets' start-ups. Indeed it seems there's a new one every day! Many of these sites are 'tech driven, ' meaning, they are platforms designed by people without much experience in agriculture, foodsystems or food distribution. Some of them are startups with significant investment capital. There is as yet no comprehensive cross-sectoral look at the rates that they are offering to farmers and customers-- nor is there a regulatory body that I can find that monitors this new sector.

Its important to consider the marketplace implication of these companies. Are they exciting, yes. But lets go deeper. Do the erode small grocers? Do the preferentially serve the wealthy with home delivery at unaffordable prices? Do they build strong, reliable markets for farmers and regional producers? Can they help penetrate rural markets where there are no other options to form the basis for a more durable, bricks and mortar store? How do their margins compare to regular 'warehouse-based' distributers? How much does the technology cost them to operate? What about credit card processing fees?

Here are some names: Gilt Taste Local Orbit Local Sprouts Plovgh Basis Greenling Good Eggs Fresh Direct

Less Helpful Online Tools:

  • Farmville- Super popular online game that makes you pay to populate your homestead with chocolate milk cows. Millions of players. Fantasy Facebook for your avatar agriculturalist. The moral tale: buy more shit, grow yucky corn to make money. This is very lame, but at least you know about it now and won’t be a dork. Deranged+highly commercial format for native human impulse for dominion.

Ideas for Using Existing Technologies:

  • Using your mobile phone to make videos, instructional videos for your customer to use in for instance breaking down a bushel box.
  • Something to use when you don't have cell phone reception, you do work offline, then when you come to the service it synchs up. (Lots of folks don’t have service in the field)
  • An accessible visualization of the degradation of the local farm economy.
  • The customer needs to be able to see where investment is needed in the food infrastructure. If Slow Money could figure out the right place to invest.

Apps and Devices Farmers Need

  • A way to synch excel with google calendar for daily task allocation.
  • Where could you get get funding to set up instructional/ training videos for your staff.

Other Helpful Compilations of Tech Resources/Ideas

  • Information & Communication Technology Tools & Strategies (from larger Food Systems resource guide):
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