A place for web 2.0 in Agricultural workforce development?

I am reminded of the raid by the feds on some Vt farms last year.  The search for laborers for farms has always been a challenge.  Does the WIB have a solution to this?  What kind of strategy could galvanize the community to support farmers and their workers?  Is there a place for 'investing' in this kind of laborer? What would it look like and what would 21st Century literacy's have to do with farm hands? User generated content, free access to the the worlds knowledge, eradication of isolation, sharing of best practices in an interactive environment–all web 2.0 characteristics apply as profoundly to the immigrant worker, or isolated rural farm worker as they do to school children, unemployed youths, adults, etc. 

Lamoillevt is not alone in this quandary.  World wide there has been tremendous steps forward in e-Agriculture that empower workers a the bottom of the pyramid.  For example e-Agriculture in India is having a huge impact on farmers incomes, eliminating the middle man, providing up to date info on prices, weather, seeds, etc. e-Agriculture.org has its own youtube channel

This Slide share "E-Agriculture: From Cutlass to Cutting Edge – Practical Solutions for the Knowledge Age" presentation contrasts nicely the old and the new agriculture and its relation to ICT and by inference, to workers. It starts with Vermonter John Deere's invention of the cutlass plow.  We need new innovators in our agricultural workforce if we are to be a sustainable and viable economy in the 21st Century.

In the States, and in Vt, we are very fortunate to have the Extension Services. UVM Extension is right on the cutting edge with their Facebook Page.  This offers a way to interact and get real time advise and insight into challenges.  But what about CSA's?  If I want to buy a share and I live in Johnson where is the closest CSA and what is available for my share this month/week? I could go to Ecobusiness links and find the CSA locator. But can't I find out my choices, what others think, what needs the farmer has?  The networks are emergent and still very underdeveloped.  There is no component of career awareness or professional development.  The many reasons the young give up farming (apart from the mono culture of dairy) is that there is so little awareness of the possibilities. They don't see how Facebook is relevant to agriculture. And yet consider the farms using methane for producing electricity–does the migrant worker have a role to play in this paradigm shift?  How about the typical farm hand?  I would say we are missing the opportunity to harvest these human resources sustainably.

Hardwick is doing an excellent job of reinventing their economy based on organic and specialty foods.  This is the model to follow and the partnership that the WIB needs to invest  in.  For the upcoming event- Supporting Agriculture in Lamoille, we need to have participation and collaboration from the people behind the efforts in Hardwick, from the Organic farm here in Johnson (I invited them but haven't heard back) from CSA farms and everyone else–especially someone from Black River Produce.  A recent article in "Green Living"?? I can't seem to find the magazine/paper at the moment- looked into how campuses are going local.  It found that our local college's–JSC and Sterling–use Black River Produce.  So it is these kinds of connections and synergies that should be aggregated in a comprehensive e-Ag 2.0 site that could develop the sector and provide workforce training by creating a sustainable network.


Dibden3D Update

Dibden3D is a Unique Augmented Reality Project

Virtual worlds can be considered separate from the "real world".  The Dibden3D Project is an attempt to use a mixed reality model that augments reality in a comprehensive, hyper local context. As an anchor, in a specific location, the build mirrors the physical place, and the community is the focus of the augmentation.  In the creative environment of Second Life (and the OpenSim worlds as well) Dibden3D is envisioned as the new citadel; as a castle of old.
Creative industries and communities spawn, clustered nearby, nurtured by the focus of Center.  A number of philosophies and technologies converge in this project.  Economically, creativity and financial permaculture contribute to the knowledge base of opportunity.  Deep ecology provides the ontology.  Connectivism and constructivism round out the pedagogical and epistemological side of things.  New media is in such flux and the opportunities are so exciting it is hard to point to one thing–which may be the point–multiplicity of perceptions, of media, of content and emergence. 

Live video is an augmentation we are experimenting with.  The raw footage is here on Ustream.tv/dibden

In a hyper local context, the Lamoille region of Vermont, we partner content and "workforce training" with the local public Access TV;
Take a look at "Tonight from Dibden" on channel 15 Green Mountian Public Access Television

What additional data streams would be useful?  In the coming months we will be exlporing these ideas and questions as we look to bring partners aboard and look for more ways to interweave the virtual and augmented with the 'real,' to bring sustainability and prosperity to the region. If you have any ideas in this regard, feel free to share them–and if you are a Lamoille region resident, or have any other conection to this area please contact me about land grants and other partnering opportunities.

Dibden 3D Ground Plan rezzed today

Dibden 3D Ground Plan rezzed today
Pausanius Raymaker announced today the ground breaking construction of Dibden 3D, here in Lamoille County, Vt. #npvt. Dibden3D is envisioned as a step into the semantic and 3D web for the Performing Arts Center and the Transformed Learning Community housed there. A very generous donor, who prefered to stay anonymouns, endowed the project, Raymaker reported. Construction began immediately and grand opening ceremonies are in the planning stages. A wide variety of programming and an enormous amount of other opportunties can be found in the virtual world, according to Raymaker.