Building Open-Source Tools for the Regenerative Agricultural Revolution
Regen Network and OpenTEAM
OpenTEAM, or Open Technology Ecosystem for Agricultural Management, is a farmer-driven, interoperable platform built to support farmers around the world with the best possible knowledge to improve soil health. The OpenTEAM community is made up of farmers, scientists and researchers the likes of Stonyfield Organic, the USDA, the Sustainability Innovation Lab at CU Boulder, Comet-Farm, and General Mills. We’re grateful to share a community brought together through the common goal of building open source tools to overcome the challenges most farmers face when it comes to adaptive soil health management.
Regen Network joined OpenTEAM two years ago which is now composed of more than twenty organizations and led by Dr. Dorn Cox of Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment and the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research (FFAR). OpenTEAM offers field-level carbon measurement, digital management records, remote sensing, predictive analytics, and input and economic management decision support in a connected platform that reduces the need for manual data entry and simultaneously improves access to a wide array of tools.
Over the past few months, our science and engineering teams have been hard at work participating across the OpenTEAM working groups. Here is an update from our team on the latest developments from our collaboration within OpenTEAM.
Open Climate Collabathon
The team participated for the second year running in the Open Climate Collabathon, a gathering of software developers, scientists, policymakers, students, and activists working together for a radically open climate accounting system. We focused our attention this year on presenting tools for accounting for and bringing to market our carbon plus credit class as well as showcasing the emerging Regen Ledger SDK and blockchain solution for open ecological accounting.
Here’s the skinny on what the Regen team was up to this year at the Open Climate Collabathon:
DIALOGUE 4: LAND BASED MITIGATION — Certifying and Accounting Land-Based Ecosystem Service Credits
Regen’s Gregory Landua presented alongside Diego Saez Gill, CEO, and co-founder of Pachama, and Dr. Kae Dooley from the University of Melbourne about land-based carbon mitigation and the ecosystem service space. The focus was on the important role and practical challenges of land-based mitigation of climate change (eg. from Agriculture and Forest).
This was followed by a breakout session in conjunction with OpenTEAM discussing the use of an ecosystem service credit class that can utilize trusted data acquisition tools. We showcased the new operating beta “devnet” of Regen Ledger and the docs for developers looking to create new credit classes or use the blockchain to anchor ecosystem health data in support of claims.
Lighting Talks: Ledger & Sentinel-2 Pre-Processing Automation
During this lightning talk our team presented a Test Net for the Regen Ledger and our satellite image pre-processing automation tool. We held a working group after, in which we answered questions and talked more about how to use our tools and use cases of when they can be used. The lightning talk generated a lot of interest in how we use remote sensing data to calculate soil carbon.
Community Event: Remote Sensing Methods for Soil Carbon Accounting - Measuring Soil Organic Carbon and Other Soil Health Indicators at the Field Scale
Our Science team hosted a working group discussing the use of remote sensing in conjunction with in-field soil samples to assess soil organic carbon at the field scale. The event provided a platform to gain feedback on Regen Network’s methodology as well as a place to brainstorm potential upgrades for future versions.
As innovation continues to drive improvements in soil sampling technologies, methods used to calculate soil organic carbon are constantly changing. New methods to measure soil carbon and other soil health indicators using remote sensing technologies have emerged. Over the next few weeks, the Regen Network science team would like to invite members of the Collabathon community to come to discuss their approach to measuring soil organic carbon and collaborate with us to improve measurements and reduce uncertainty.
Here is our Mural for visual mapping!
Regen’s Science team has been participating in the field method working group where we are currently assessing field protocols for soil health indicators that will be distributed through the OpenTEAM community for the 2021 field season. The purpose, cost, time, expertise, accuracy, and precision of each protocol is discussed and documented and will form the structure of a decision support tool for our members to choose research protocols that fit their research and monitoring goals and production systems.
Regen’s Sophia Leiker assisted in facilitating the Bulk Density protocol review, including an analysis of different in-field bulk density methods. This review included an assessment of Regen Network’s recommended soil sampling procedures and bulk density assessment.
Hub Farms & Ranches
This group is composed of research farms and ranches where OpenTEAM is being deployed, and provide feedback so that these technologies can be calibrated and improved. Sophia has also been participating in the Hub & Network working group where the OpenTEAM hub farms are outlining their plans around tech, field methods, and community support for farmers.
Tech: Digital Signatures and Defining Field Boundaries
OpenTEAM is participating in the continual work and discussion in a paired work session with Heartland and Field to Market on shared tech challenges, including defining field boundaries and ensuring no double counting of usage for credits. We hope the approach taken to build and evolve Regen Ledger may play an important role as pre-competitive claims and data infrastructure that can bring together different registries and markets into a shared public PoS blockchain for issuing and reconciling claims and creating a solid foundation for the ecosystem service markets of the future.
As with any successful movement, by shifting away from competition and towards collaboration our ability to drive impact is larger and inherently designed for the long-term health of the whole. By adopting an open-source approach and sharing the lessons, research, and infrastructure for the betterment of the whole we, in turn, are able to proliferate the success of many.
About the Partners:
Regen Network is a platform serving to align economics with ecology to drive regenerative land management. Regen’s Registry allows land stewards to sell their ecosystem services to buyers around the world, functioning to reverse climate change through incentivized carbon removal.
OpenTEAM is a collaborative community of farmers, scientists and researchers, engineers, farm service providers, and food companies that are committed to improving soil health and advancing agriculture’s ability to become a solution to climate change. OpenTEAM is headquartered at Wolfe’s Neck Center in Maine.