Last month, Daniella Malin, the Food Lab’s Agriculture & Climate Program Director, participated in a launch meeting of OpenTEAM in Denver, Colorado. The collaborative project seeks to harness vast amounts of open source data and software to drive soil health improvements across millions of acres of farmland and change the future of our planet.
OpenTEAM or Open Technology Ecosystem for Agricultural Management, is a farmer-driven, interoperable platform to provide farmers around the world with the best possible knowledge to improve soil health. The ecosystem includes remote sensing data (OPTIS), observation tools like Quick Carbon, farmOS and Land PKS, adaptive farm management software, decision tools like cover crop species selection tools, economic calculators, grazing tools and agroecosystem models like the Cool Farm Tool, DNDC and COMET-Farm.
The vision of OpenTEAM is for information to flow among and between the ecosystem of agricultural management and decision support tools. As the data flows, it informs and is informed by the functions of each element, building knowledge throughout. Technology should assist rather than bog farmers down. Knowledge, informed by context specific research and available in real time should make unsustainable choices increasingly irrational.
The role of the Food Lab and the Cool Farm Tool (a tool co-created by the Food Lab) will be to connect the Cool Farm Tool to the other decision tools and data available. In doing so the team will inevitably also further advance agricultural data standardization to ensure that in the future, different data platforms can communicate with each other more easily.
The Denver meeting was a thrilling kick-off to the initiative. Picture a room in which every table was a white board surface and the tables moved and folded up to be vertical white boards; moveable glass walls created indoor/outdoor spaces and the opportunity for small group meetings. From this creative learning space, exciting conversations of shared needs across diverse groups of participants unfolded and an initial plan of how to share data and ground information in scientific data emerged. The participants were excited to be working towards OpenTEAM’s ambitious goal to address soil health.
To learn more about OpenTEAM, watch this video: