Wired Farm Project
Kindling Trust is a not-for-profit working to create a just and ecologically sustainable society through enterprising solutions. They are a team of ten staff who deliver innovative, creative & participatory initiatives which have the potential to have significant impact in creating lasting opportunities to improve the communities who are most in need. A third of food is wasted, whilst 1 in 5 Mancunians do not eat enough fruit & veg. At the other end of the food chain, rural poverty is compounded by extreme weather events and pressure from supermarkets. Yet, 20,000 farming jobs could be created if we prioritised local food.
In partnership with small-scale farmers, new FarmStart growers and others at Kindling Trust’s new Urban Farming site in Stockport, Kindling wish to develop, test pilot and eventually roll out a technical solution to the challenge of inefficiencies in small scale growing which: 1) monitors localised environmental factors (e.g. temperature and light levels), resources use (e.g. water consumption); 2) automates remote operations to help improve resource efficiencies (e.g. a grower could receive a text message if a glass house reaches a particular temperature); 3) connects allowing the sharing of crop availability to customers; and 4) communicates by sharing raw data and records, and utilising webcams and time-lapse photography.
The team will construct a working prototype that can be tested over a whole growing season. An additional output will be a method of communicating to Kindling Trust’s growers how to use the equipment developed. Guidance notes and training would therefore be very welcome.
Jose Espinosa (Electrical and Electronic Engineering) – Born and raised in Mexico City, he holds a BA degree on Mechatronic Engineering from UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico), currently studying the PhD on Underwater Collaborative Robotics in the Robotics Group at Manchester University.
Ralph Stevenson-Jones (Chemical Enginerring & Analytical Sciences)
Charles Veys (Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Agri-Sensors Centre) – Charles is a PhD student in the e-Agri Sensors Centre, working on engineering knowledge support systems to improve the versatility of developing farmers. He is looking in particular at utilising diagnostic imaging to detect the early onset of pests and disease. In the past he has been involved with developing wireless sensor nodes, to improve water sustainability in rice farming.