August 28, 2014

Subscriber Login

Online Subscription

Online Subscription Options

Farmers in Kansas dig into the digital world by using smartphones

Farm apprentice Sarah Dehart, 32, is pulling carrots out of Cultivate KC's field at Gibbs Road Farm in Kansas City, Kan.

She is sporting true farmer's gear: overalls, a plastic tub of vegetables on her shoulder and a tan. Also tucked into the bib pocket of her overalls is a smartphone, a tool that has the potential to help spread urban farming knowledge in a viral sort of way.

Cultivate KC is a not-for-profit organization that encourages and develops urban farming through policy, outreach and marketing. So Ami Freeburg, the farm's program assistant, and Dehart commiserate that smartphones are too easily lost or soiled out in the fields to make it very practical to snap photos of the produce as it's picked and upload the images onto the organization's Facebook page.

Getting farmers wired requires finding an interface for two different ways of life. On the one hand are most consumers, who work and play networked to one another by computer, smartphone or tablet. On the other are the farmers, who are mostly cut off, working in fields where cellphone signals can be weak to nonexistent.