Agroforestry Applications of farmOS

Hi all,
I’ve mostly been a lurker here for a while, greatly admiring the work you all are doing but without a direct application in my own work. That has recently changed and I’m looking for some birds of a feather to learn from and with.

I’ve just started a new biz here in New York State, FLX Agroforestry Solutions, which could greatly benefit from use of farmOS. I’ll be propagating, transplanting, planting, and maintaining trees and shrubs on my own land as well as others. I’ll also be collaborating with a number of others in support of “Multi-Party Agroforestry” approaches, including commons-based ones.

All of which is A LOT to track and maintain. I’d love to connect with others who are using or interested in using farmOS for similar purposes, potentially including nursery folk.

Cheers, Jeff


Hi Jeff,

I’ll be doing some agroforestry and hope FarmOS can help with record keeping.

Actually, I was just trying to get FarmOS to plot wide rows for an orchard with alleys with narrower market veggie beds inbetween … still trying to figure that out :slight_smile:

My partner has a small native seed stock and nursery for his eco biz – native to Wisconsin, not New York – and I’m trying to convince him to try FarmOS.

Maybe some others have had success and can share their FarmOS setup.


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Welcome to the farmOS forum @Jeff_Piestrak and @JustinP! :smile:

I’d love to brainstorm agroforestry record keeping conventions in farmOS with you both. We can either start in this thread, or perhaps a quicker kickstart would be to talk about it on a weekly dev call or monthly community call (and then summarize the outcomes here).

Couple of quick thoughts in the meantime…

Cool so the first step might be to create some Land assets to represent your land and the land of others that you’ll be tracking (all within the same farmOS instance).

The next decision to make is what granularity of record keeping you’ll need. Do you need to track activities/inputs/etc to individual plants? Or just groups of plants?

Either way, you’ll want to create Plant assets to represent each “management unit” you’re tracking (whether that be individuals/groups).

I assume you have some plants that already in the ground? As well as plans to grow/buy and transplant others? Do you have records of when the “already planted” trees were transplanted/grafted/whatever?

Ideally you will have 1 Plant asset for each individual/group you are tracking, as well as 1 Transplant log with the date and location it was transplanted. farmOS uses logs to give assets their location (see Movements and location | farmOS).

This may seem like a lot of records (especially if you have hundreds of individual trees and you want to track each separately!) - and it is! That is why I said above:

The next decision to make is what granularity of record keeping you’ll need.

The more granular you get, the more records you need. :slight_smile:

So, if you want that level of granularity, you may also want to consider a CSV importer to help you get data into place from a spreadsheet to get started quickly. @paul121 and @Symbioquine are working on a blog post right now that demonstrates a simple CSV importer Python script (and there are other forum topics with more detailed examples). The blog post will most likely be published soon, but here is the PR in progress if you want a sneak peek: Create a post with a quick tutorial by symbioquine · Pull Request #14 · farmOS/farmOS-community-blog · GitHub

Once you have all your assets represented (and their locations mapped), then you can really go to town tracking more kinds of logs: inputs, harvests, observations, etc - whatever you’re hoping to track.

Happy to think through the details of those as you get into it!

There have been a few similar forum threads about this kind of stuff… I encourage you to use the search feature, and feel free to cross-post links to the relevant topics/comments you find in this thread so that it makes it easier for future readers as well. I’ll try to do a quick search myself and post what I find… :slight_smile:

Thanks so much for the follow-ups @mstenta and @JustinP! Glad to hear there is shared interest in this application from other users and devs :smiley:

Happy to join an upcoming dev call once I have a better understanding of farmOS itself. I set up a free account on Farmier for now but anticipate exploring a multi-farm option subscription with aggregator hosting at some point (i.e., when I’m better able to make a pitch to partners/collaborators :wink: )

In the meantime, I’ll see how much we can work out asynchronously here…

Mike, I can imagine wanting plant level granularity at some point. My initial inputs/treatments are by tray block. I just saw Justin’s other post regarding bed generating/mapping, which is quite relevant to my (trans)planting blocks. Some of those will include multiple crops, including cover crops, each with different treatments, timings, and measurements.There will also be multiple and often forking locations for plants initially clustered within similar propagation blocks, so its good to know farmOS can help me track these movements.

I do have some data already in spreadsheets, so CSV import may be useful. My hope is whatever record keeping system I set up can also be used for research and evaluation, while avoiding duplicative input steps. I’m hoping to work with OpenTEAM at some point on research related stuff, so any templates, ontologies, etc., they use would probably save me time and effort down the road.

One useful tool which I/we might use to model farmOS data input and use is the new SARE funded Fruit and Nut Compass spreadsheet developed by UW-Madison and the Savanna Institute.

Another tool which has some useful aspects but comes with a lot of VC-funded proprietary baggage (overyield[dot]com/terms-of-service) is Overyield. I’d love to see something based on farmOS which farmers and coops could manage and customize for their benefit without losing ownership and control of their own data…

The longer term picture for my enterprise (and the data management requirements related to that) looks something like Canopy Farm Management, and it’s precursor Midwest Agroforestry Solutions. Canopy is a multi-stakeholder, for-profit/non-profit hybrid formed through a collaboration between the Savanna Institute and the Grantham Environmental Trust. Perhaps a framework for future grant funded development, looking at how farmOS could support, replicate, and link such efforts?

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Wow Jeff this is so cool! Moar farmOS business / orgs / startups / stuff - yay!

Hey, I talked to a person at Pasa who has a greenhouse and is interested in a solution also, probably lots of similar items maybe. Could be someone to connect with. We’re also working with a series of farms to try to improve farmOS for their applications, this could be another one.

Feel free to reach out on that if you want, I could email you her contact.


Yeah, excited to explore the applications here Greg! Please do connect me with the person you met at PASA. Also happy to chat with you about other stuff.

I just found out today that one of my friends I collaborate with, Steve Gabriel from Wellspring Forest Farm, has been awarded a SARE grant. I’ll be helping out on a research component potentially relevant to farmOS, OpenTEAM, and Our Sci. That includes comparing the effect of commercial mycorrhizal inoculants to locally harvested ones.

I’m also scheming up some project/proposal ideas for how we might pilot and evaluate what I’m calling raised “biobeds” interplanted within and around existing row crop fields. I’m curious what effect those might have on the row crops, including serving as above and below ground biodiversity reservoirs (in addition to the value of agroforesty crops themselves)… Another friend of mine, Thor Oechsner, has expressed some willingness to allow me to experiment on his organic grain farm a bit :slight_smile:

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