Wireless greenhouse monitor and alarm

2012 Annual Report for FNE12-765

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2012: $9,992.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2013
Region: Northeast
State: Massachusetts
Project Leader:
Benjamin Shute
Hearty Roots Community Farm

Wireless greenhouse monitor and alarm


We will create and field test a farmer-built electronic tool that can monitor greenhouse temperature, record greenhouse data, and alert the farmer to problems in the greenhouse via cell phone text message. We will document the assembly of the tool and how to set it up through an online instruction guide and video.

Objectives/Performance Targets

The research and development of the the greenhouse monitor tool have been completed successfully. We have a working tool and have thoroughly tested it on multiple farms, and documented it using an online instruction guide. We have also presented the tool to farmers at multiple farming conferences, including the NOFA Summer Conference and the MOFGA Farmer to Farmer conference. We will do some more documentation of the tool this year and further promote it to farmers.


We have been successful in developing the tool and it works as we had hoped. It costs about $130 in materials, and it monitors greenhouse temperature and can be programmed to alert the farmer to abnormal temperatures, or just to send and/or record regular summaries and updates. We have successfully created an online guide that allows farmers to build the tool themselves.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

We determined that the tool could potentially be custom built by a small-scale manufacturer at a reduced cost (due to economies of scale), so one of our partners is pursuing selling already assembled kits that will serve the same purpose. Of course, a farmer could still use the do-it-yourself instructions instead. We also determined that there is potential for increased functionality of the tool, so it could do other tasks for farmers with small modifications (monitor other conditions besides just temperature, and take other actions such as turning on or off fans, etc.)

Hearty Roots currently manages 90 acres of land, growing vegetables on 25 acres for about 600 CSA shares and producing eggs thanks to a flock of 525 hens.

Benjamin Shute continues to be the lead on this project. Louis Thiery has mostly wrapped up his work developing and designing the electronic components of the tool. RJ Steinert has mostly wrapped up his work on programming and web documentation of the tool.


Louis Thiery

Computer Programmer
115 Harvard St, Apartment 4
Cambridge, MA 02139
RJ Steinert

Technical Advisor
99 Highland St.
Somerville, MA 02144