Palo Alto Library's Farmbot
By embracing the FarmBot technology, libraries can cultivate a deeper understanding of sustainable gardening practices among patrons, offer hands-on educational opportunities, and promote environmental awareness while showcasing the fascinating world of urban farming.
The FarmBot Genesis v1.6 is an open-source, automated farming system that combines robotics, software, and precision farming techniques to create a highly efficient and customizable agricultural platform. It is specifically designed to assist small-scale farmers, backyard gardeners, and community-supported agriculture projects in cultivating crops with minimal effort and maximum yield.
- Educational Programs: Libraries can incorporate FarmBot into their educational programs, offering workshops, classes, or summer camps to teach patrons, especially children and students, about sustainable agriculture, robotics, and programming. They can provide hands-on experiences where participants can learn about planting, monitoring, and maintaining crops using FarmBot.
- Community Gardens: Libraries with available outdoor space can establish community gardens powered by FarmBot. These gardens can serve as interactive learning spaces for the community, allowing patrons to witness and participate in the process of growing and maintaining crops using advanced automation techniques. Library staff can organize gardening clubs or host regular gardening events, engaging patrons in the gardening process.
- STEM Activities: FarmBot presents an excellent opportunity for libraries to promote STEM education. Libraries can organize STEM-related events, workshops, or competitions centered around FarmBot, encouraging participants to explore topics like robotics, coding, data analysis, and environmental sustainability.
- Food Security Initiatives: Libraries can collaborate with local food banks, community organizations, or schools to address food security issues within their communities. FarmBot can be used to grow fresh produce, which can be donated or used to support food programs. By involving patrons in the process, libraries can create awareness and foster community engagement in tackling food insecurity.
- Demonstrations and Exhibits: Libraries can set up FarmBot as an exhibit or demonstration area within their premises. This provides an opportunity for patrons to observe the robot in action and learn about its capabilities. Library staff can conduct regular demonstrations or interactive sessions to showcase the potential of FarmBot in sustainable agriculture and inspire patrons to explore similar initiatives.
- Research and Data Collection: Libraries can collaborate with local researchers, universities, or agricultural institutions to conduct research projects using FarmBot. The robot’s ability to collect real-time data on soil conditions, plant growth, and environmental factors can contribute to scientific studies focused on crop optimization, resource management, and climate change. The library can provide access to the data collected by FarmBot, facilitating research and analysis for interested parties.
The versatility of FarmBot allows libraries to adapt and innovate according to their resources, community needs, and goals. By integrating FarmBot into their offerings, libraries can become hubs for agricultural innovation, education, and community engagement.
Palo Alto City Library: LTI Lab’s First Partnering Library
Palo Alto City Library’s Tello Drone Program: Library Program Coordinator at the Palo Alto City Library Dan Lou has been a tremendous and crucial partner to the LTI Lab since the beginning of its inception. Dan Lou brings a deep understanding of technology use in libraries and has been an exceptional and visionary pioneer at the Palo Alto City Library in bringing new technology tutorials.
Palo Alto City Library’s Tutorials
- The Library’s agriculture robot FarmBot
- How Did We Build the FarmBot?
- Harvest at the Library (Series)
Library’s ReBoot Room:
- Looking to learn new library skills or enhance your career prospects? In 2022 the City of Palo Alto Library opened the Reboot Room, a new lab space designed to promote digital literacy and help community members level up their technology skills.
- Sign up or drop by on Fridays and Saturdays for eHelp, or take advantage of the lab’s expert staff using the Vintage Media Lab. This is also where we stream weekly on Twitch! Follow the links on this page for more info.
Physical Dimensions (Genesis v1.6)
- Max. machine area: 5ft x 10ft (50ft2)
- Machine height: 5 feet
- Max. plant height: 1.5 feet
- 16-18 hour assembly time
- Included/built-in gardening tools
- Watering Nozzle
- Rotary Tool
- Soil Moisture Sensor
- Seed Troughs
- Seed Trays
- Seed Bin
- Farmbot App
- GitHub account
- Raspberry Pi
- Pi 4B
- Programming Languages