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growBot Garden: The Co-Design of Alternative Agricultures

About the Talk

February 10, 2011 10:30 AM

Boulder, CO

Boulder, CO

Over the past 100 years, design had played a significant role in advancing agri-business by producing products, systems, and services that support large-scale corporate farming. The question we ask is, Can design now play a role in shifting us towards more sustainable modes of agriculture? What kinds of products, services and systems would need to be designed that shift? How can the technologies of automation and monitoring that support large-scale corporate farming be redesigned for local small-scale agriculture? The growBot Garden project explores these questions by bringing together interaction designers, farmers and other food producers to ask: How might robotics and sensing technologies be used in support of local small-scale agriculture? The growBot Garden project is structured around a series of public and participatory design workshops that draw from practices of co-design design, critical design, tactical media and hacking. In these workshops, people come together to collaboratively make speculative representations and prototypes of possible, alternative, agricultural futures. These representations and prototypes are documented and shared through public forums to provoke consideration of new assemblages that might emerge at the intersection of technology and agriculture. In this lightening session we will present the growBot Garden project, calling attention to both it's specific successes and failures, and the broader challenges and opportunities of melding co-design and interaction design in the context of sustainable agriculture. Attendees will be inspired, and too, will come away with a case-study of socially-engaged interaction design they can extend to their own projects.

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