Collaborative Crop Planning

We are looking at a collaboration between 4 small market gardeners. Each location is owned by 4 separate businesses. We are all spaced out across one county by 5 to 40 miles. Which of course makes the dashboard map useless to us, you can’t find any of the location on it. I read that a collapsible option for the map is in discussion, but if you have any ideas how to make it more useful to us maybe?

One unified crop plan is our goal, utilising all 4 locations. Hopefully with each user being assigned to a location, so a different dashboard is shown to us all. With only the relevant information for that farm. Hopefully, the dashboard map zooming in on the user’s location. Can a person be under a land asset?

So, I suppose my main question is, are we going about this situation in the correct way? Or should we have 4 separate setups of FarmOS. Then how do we get 4 separate databases working together. Surely them all in one setup makes sense?? Or at least it does for us.

Thanks Martin


Ohhh, this is fascinating, reminds me a lot of the scenario @KipCurtis described at Richland Gro-Op:

I’m sorry to say I don’t have any specific advice on this issue, regarding the maps and whether it’s better to have 4 separate farmOS instances vs one shared instance. Intuition tells me the former option, but I think there have been developments related to multiple instances that I’m not privvy to. @mstenta, what’s the latest on working with multiple farms in farmOS, has anything emerged yet from the pods that USDA was looking to implement?

Getting back to the prior art at Richland Gro-Op and the Microfarms Projects, Runrig has been slowly working at snails-pace on a system that we hope can integrate with farmOS to monitor the status of multiple farms working on a single crop plan, main repo here, although the original design doc we outlined with their co-op manager might be of more immediate interest:

It’s all at a very early proof-of-concept stage, but I’m curious if others might find it useful to have a dashboard for integrating multiple farmOS instances, using a portable data format like JSON-LD for interchange between farmOS and Solid pods or similarly distributed data storage.

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Welcome to the forum @MiddleWorld! :smiley:

Great question - and it sounds like you’ve figured out the main tradeoffs that exist already.

farmOS by default doesn’t have a concept of “multiple farms” in one instance. It’s certainly possible to put all records in one, and that can work fine as long as everyone understands that they are sharing a database. There are no access control restrictions between individual users in this scenario however, so it’s possible for everyone to see and edit everything.

Having multiple separate instances solves this problem, but introduces new challenges if you want some level of data sharing.

There has been numerous discussions over the years about a “Multifarm” module, which would essentially add the concept of multiple farms within a single instance, and provide access control between them, but nothing has been implemented (apart from this little proof of concept I started a while back, which only adds a simple taxonomy for designating records as part of one farm or another: GitHub - mstenta/farm_multifarm: Manage multiple farms in farmOS. PROOF OF CONCEPT - DO NOT USE WITH REAL DATA).

Ultimately the reason nothing has been done yet is due to the cost and complexity. Building these access control walls between different “farms” in a single instance is not trivial. And it’s hard to justify when having multiple instances already provides all of those walls by design.

That said, there are cases where access control isn’t the main problem (or not a high priority), and it would still be useful to have multiple farms represented in a single instance - eg: for community gardens where there is a high level of trust among members. I’d love to see some supporting modules developed for these use-cases!

The USDA has developed their own custom in-house solutions for their needs - which is mostly designed around separating data into different grantee projects/agreements. It was not developed in a way that can serve general use-cases, nor was it designed to be made open source, unfortunately. I continue to nudge them in that direction. :slight_smile:

@MiddleWorld perhaps we can use this thread to identify specific features/improvements that could be made, either in farmOS core itself, or in contributed add-on modules, that would help facilitate what you’re doing.

It sounds like the dashboard map is one point we could focus on as a start. I’m sure there are others.

With regard to the map, here is a very old idea that we could consider dusting off and implementing:

PS: Here is one of the original threads about “multiple farms” in one instance, for context:

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