This initiative is part of the Diversity by Design project.

Why this workshop? In our research with small-scale farmers in Eastern Ontario and Southern Quebec, many have expressed that automation cannot replace years of farming experience, gut feeling, and field knowledge gained through astute observations of the land. Likewise, some farmers see the use of (digital) technologies as complementary to their farming practices. We therefore ask:

What if digital tools could be designed to enhance human experience, like embodied farming knowledge or gut feeling, while also reflecting the principles of biodiverse farming?

For this work, we draw inspiration from farmer “hacktivists” who are developing digital tools for sustainable agriculture (e.g., FarmHack). Our starting point is that, while the art of farming can likely never be replaced, new technologies might enhance, surface, or augment field-based expertise.

These one-day workshops (in early 2022) aim to connect farmers’ and market gardeners’ experiential knowledge, intuition, and lived experiences with the design of digital technologies. In a collaborative setting, we will explore this possibility, focusing on farmers and their needs. Rather than trying to “scale-down” the digital tools used in Big Ag, we want to think through digitization with and for sustainable small-scale food producers.

Technology developers and policy makers will also join us for these workshops.

The workshops will result in:

When and where: A first workshop will take place at the Rupert Community Centre in Rupert, QC, Saturday, February 26, 2022 from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

All participating farmers will receive an honorarium of $200, as well as gas money for travel.

Coffee, snacks, and lunch will be provided.

What will the day look like?

If you have any specific questions or suggestions, please contact mascha.gugganig@uottawa.ca.