- Fruits: apples, paw-paws, pears, plums
- Education and Training: on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
- Farm Business Management: labor/employment
- Production Systems: organic agriculture, permaculture
- Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems, urban agriculture
This project addressed the lack of information available about organic fruit production within the middle-latitudes of the Midwest. The Produce Efficacy Analysis and Recording (PEAR) application was developed to collect and analyze data from Earthdance Organic Farm School’s permaculture orchard.
EarthDance developed and tested a mobile application (“app”) to collect and analyze data about EarthDance Organic Farm School’s permaculture-focused fruit production, to make collection and distribution of such information easier. This project sought to address the perennial problem of record keeping and busy schedule of farmers. The Produce Efficacy Analysis and Recording (PEAR) application simplified the record keeping processes, improved old records, provided a platform for continuous data collection throughout the season. PEAR enabled the collection of crucial data, such as yield amounts, insect pressure, disease, growth measurements, and maintenance practices, to occur in the field. The application has reduced the amount of time spent handling records as it is stored to a database directly from the field and not handled again until reporting. This eliminated the double-handling that occurs during the computer entry process from field journals or other paper records.
Additionally, the data analysis now available will allow for accurate reporting of profitability, variety yield comparisons, and the identification of best practices for midwest organic fruit production. This initial year has established a platform and process for regional research to be conducted should the project be expanded to other sites.
The objective of this project was to develop and test the PEAR Application in order to collect and analyze data about EarthDance Organic Farm School’s permaculture fruit production. The goals of this objective include:
- Reducing labor by eliminating problematic paper documentation and centralizing electronic records.
- Providing a visualization of organic fruit production data through maps and analytical reports.
- Creating a platform that will serve as a launching point for regional system-level research in organic fruit production.