Last week I (Kat Ying) attended a Transitions conference at Concordia University, a really active University in Montreal where I live. Some students, staff and organizations at this school are undertaking a big project to transition the food system of this campus to a local, sustainable, with student and community run and owned enterprises. It is a great dream.
So the majority of the people at this conference were people who have a hand in growing food, social enterprise, academics, activists, community organizers and farmers. They are my kind of people 😉 And they are really great people to collaborate on OpenFarm. They have a lot of knowledge and networks to share with OpenFarm; and OpenFarm could be a great platform for them to share their knowledge, work and projects with each other and more people too.
But I wonder how much can they connect to the OpenSource Ethos of OpenFarm? When I first hear about this project I had a lot of questions to ask about opensource. Basically I wanted to know, what makes this a community business, and not just-another-website. But after talking to Simon and Rory about the open source aspect of the website I began to see how we are so aligned. In fact, among gardeners, permaculturalists and community organizers, there is a lot of talk about ‘openknowledge, and openeconomies’ in our work. But I wondered, how much do the gardeners and community builders who could really use OpenFarm know and understand opensource and the creative commons as is meant for web site developing and intellectual property online? Especially since these are big tenets of the OpenFarm project?
So… so I took a survey. I figured I could ask outright. Basically I wanted to know how much overlap of knowledge is there between online/tech communities and food growers. If there is a lot of overlap,w e are good to go. If there isn’t then we, OpenFarm and especially community developers at OpenFarm, know that our outreach and conversations need to step back to a point of defining our terms. It might also be a chance to understand what is so special about OpenFarm in a way that makes sense to users.
So here is the Survey You can go there and fill it out. Your data will be added to the same sheet but categorized as internet gleaned data.
Of the 41 people at the conference filled out the survey. 7 declined. Another 20-30 were not reached out to.
73% of respondents said they were already growing food. 51% said they knew what they creative commons was. 71% said they knew what opensource was. I included a space for people to explain why creative commons and opensource were important to them. This space revealed to me that many people had explanations and definitions that were not strictly about opensource web coding or data. Many responses revealed that people had a looser or vague idea of what these tools are.
Based on this assessment of this community I have figured out the following things.
1. This community have a general understanding of opensource, but it is vague. Therefore a 201 level of conversation would be appropriate in social media and maybe in event and tabling work.
2. I have located about 4 productive food growers who said they would want to participate/volunteer with us as we develop the website
3. I have a basic template to change and create more ways of surveying for information and feedback from users and potential users
4. I have an email list of people who have said they want to get involved and I have some knowledge about them, if they grow food and in what capacity. So I can call on these specific people for interviews or feedback from specific groups/growers.
Do you grow food?
Do you grow food…
|productively (with intent for sale)||8||20%|
Where do you grow your food?
|occupied urban spaces||5||12%|
Where do you learn how to grow food?
Why is growing food important to you?
|sustenance/ to feed yourself||13||32%|
|work/ to sell a product||7||17%|
You haven’t started growing food yet
Do you want to learn how to grow food?
Would you like to tell us more?
Do you know about the creative commons?
Is the creative commons important to you?
Do you know what open source is?