- 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 will address the lack of information available about organic fruit production within the middle-latitudes of the Midwest. EarthDance will develop and test 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. It is common for farmers to begin the season with the best intention for record keeping, but as the season progresses, field journals are used less frequently. The Produce Efficacy Analysis and Recording (PEAR) application will simplify record-keeping processes and enable farmers to collect information throughout the season, during field walks and harvest. PEAR will enable farmers to easily collect crucial data including yield, insect pressure, diseases, growth measurements, and maintenance practices, while in the field, via mobile phone. Furthermore, It will enable farmers to generate real-time reports of data collected for the current and previous seasons by variety, location, and specific tree. This will provide farmers with on-demand accounts of crop information and eliminate time manually maintaining records away from the field. Additionally, data analysis will allow for accurate reporting of profitability, variety yield comparisons, and the identification of best practices for midwest organic fruit production.
Project objectives from proposal:
The objective of this project is 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.