Leading farmers as well as institutions both have been responsible for advancing new science and implementation of new practices. Farmers have always networked to share ideas and farm level results and to then share farmer peer to peer tested results with others for consideration.
Since starting in these innovative farmer networks in the '70s long before the internet, working together across long distances was extremely difficult. But we were still able to make great accomplishments. While also working with institutions especially for their science expertise and for needed lab evaluation work.
With the development of the internet and then smartphones communications became much easier. But these technologies have taken time to get to rural areas. Same as it did for the telephone in the past getting to rural areas. Recently even if every farmer doesn’t yet have this technology, it is at least available in almost every area of the world. Local and regional personal networking can then get information to those farmers who aren’t yet connected through technology.
What is now missing is a global networking platform farmers to effectively be connected and organize efforts and collaborations. Farmers work 24-7 and being connected especially in sudden situations day or night that can arise has also always been crucial. Presently trying to use SM platforms that aren’t properly designed for these types of efforts has proved frustrating and inadequate. An some SM platforms just aren’t trusted or liked by some for many obvious reasons. And some designed for groups aren’t universally easy to learn to use and often come and go. And aren’t easy for a farmer to find.
Still one of the best platform designs for effective use, ease of universal understanding because it’s index based, has always been available, ownership and control by the users and adjustable for specific design needs being of open source development, is the phpbb platform.
The phpbb system can be embedded into a website that can also have other areas within the site for collecting and sharing information resourses etc. etc. This also offers the opportunity to create networks of phpbb platform networks all connected together. The concept came to me fittingly in these times as a nature-based solution, similar to how nature connects plants and organisms together with soil fungal networks, globally.
While considering nature-based solutions are now showing great potential in agriculture from the recent plant/soil biome and ecosystem science. And farmers using this nature-based science in improving implementation practices with great results. The advantage is the basic principles of nature functioning are universal, a universal language that can be understood by all. All then that is needed is local/regional context to be considered in implementation of the universal principles. This is where the networking platforms become invaluable. Such new popular topics as, reducing tillage, covercropping, new crop diversity, companion planting, benefical insects, soil health/biome functioning, etc… With the speed of generation of new knowledge and ideas, these networks can on specific innovation platform areas within the network do needed farmer and institution evaluations and then spread the new knowledge/ideas quickly and efficiently through the overall network. Because of the basic index based design of phpbb platforms all appropriate farm topic divisions can be included.
As well as topics relating to supplies, markets, policies, funding, idea development, etc. etc.
This should be hosted by a collaboration of Universities. A future way to direct connect universities and farming/food systems
For now I’ll not go on further with more concept details. But keep it simple and ask for basic concept thoughts.