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Computational Agroecology: Should we bet the microfarm on it?

Published onJun 21, 2022
Computational Agroecology: Should we bet the microfarm on it?

ABSTRACT

Current imaginaries for the future of food production are often set on two opposite sides, either digital technologies enabling higher productivity at a large scale, or small-scale diversified farming that minimizes the use of digital technology. However, computational agroecology is starting to explore the space for digital technologies that are adapted to complex agroecosystems. In this paper, we define a specific scale (microfarms) and farming practice (the French Method) on which these tools can be developed and tested. We show how the age old French Method, with its set of constraints, leads to original technologies and we illustrate this with some of the tools we developed. We discuss in particular three aspects: Tools, Plants, and People where computation can interact with farming practices. We also discuss the consequences of introducing digital technologies in microfarms, including potentially harmful ones.

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