I first met Dr. Dorn Cox in the Fall of 2017, during one of our first team retreats for Regen Network. He’s well-read (with a fondness for quoting the physiocrats), a tinkerer (a long-time member of the Farm Hack community), and playful (enjoying a good game of Wherewolf around the fire in the evenings). He’s also a bit of a visionary genius. Dr. Cox has been cross-pollinating at the nexus of the communities focused on agricultural soil health, open source technology and community governance, and farmer decision support. Dorn wears many hats, and serves as the Research Director at Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment.
Last summer, these efforts bore fruit, in the launch of an initiative called the Open Technology Ecosystem for Agricultural Management (OpenTEAM), with Dr. Cox at the helm, holding the post of secretariat. This project has been kickstarted by $5 million over three years of matching funds provided by the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research (FFAR) — a Farm-Bill-created entity.
Thus far, the initiative has coalesced a cohort of twenty-one enterprises mobilizing around building tools to address the issue of soil health in the agricultural context. Regen Network is proud to be part of this team! Many of these groups (including ourselves), have been collaborating for years already through a forum known as the Gathering for Open Agricultural Technology.
Work in OpenTEAM is collaborative by design. Funding is disbursed primarily through work packages, and each work package requires the collaboration between at least two OpenTEAM entities.
The community is currently organized across four working groups:
- Technology (focused on interoperability): this working group is focused on cross-pollination and syncing of technological development across open team projects.
- Field Methods (focused on the intersection of scientists, researchers, and farmers/ranchers around Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification): the field methods working group is focused on three scales on three —Tier I) farm level, Tier II) ecosystem service markets and certifications, and Tier III) research and development.
- Hub & Network (focused on deploying OpenTEAM yields across scales and networks): 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.
- Human-Centered Design (focused on grounding technological development in systems and processes that work for the people that use them): currently focused on an internal process centered around researcher and developer user experience and an external process centered around the farmer user experience.
So far, much of this work has been organized across public boards on GitLab (click the links above and below to see).
Within this context, Regen Network is working on a number of projects:
- Standards Generation Facilitation
- Knowledge Repository & Tooling Support
- Decentralized Governance & Funding
- Digital Signatures & Data Interoperability
- Cool Farm Tool Perennials Module
With paired work sessions just beginning to kick off, momentum is just starting to build! We look forward to continuing to report on progress throughout the arc of the project.
At Regen Network, we value decentralization, and are helping to build a world where people have the agency to regenerative ecosystem health within their communities. We’re proud to be part of OpenTEAM because it is a pragmatic space putting these values to work.
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