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[Discussion] Thinking of Opening a Small Bootcamp to Help Small Farmers via Machine Learning

Guys, I’ve been brewing on the bootcamp idea for a while. The reason I am posting here is to collect your input. I think that I will open the bootcamp even if you tell me that it is a terrible idea, so do not bother shooting the messenger right away. 😛 On the other hand, constructive criticism is welcome. Main purpose of sharing the idea with you is for the purpose of collective thinking. Imagine that you are considering joining such a bootcamp, what will be enticing to you?

Now, without much further due:

  1. Average age of a modern-day farmer is 55 (I will insert my source later :).
  2. Modern farming (especially so in the US) is a large-scale chemical facility, which blasts our food and soil with known carcinogens.
  3. Small farmers find it difficult to compete. However, there has been somewhat of a resurgence of local CSA (community-supported agriculture) because young people are more aware of the food they eat and the way we impact the environment.
  4. Data Science, IoT, Machine Learning are sexy topics with many cerebral young professionals actively participating in developing many fields (fintech, autonomous driving, etc.).
  5. Let’s make agriculture sexy again (now, Reddit, behave 🙂 by combining Machine Learning, IoT, and Data Science with local CSAs.
  6. Imagine a bootcamp, which works on a template meant to ease the pain of growing local foods without the use of pesticides and herbicides. Real-time actionable data displaces the need to rely on chemicals.
  7. Or imagine a bootcamp, which studies beehives from the inside by collecting continuous data and using machine learning techniques (DeepLabCut, for example) to identify beehive problems during early stages.

Now, returning to your opinions, what would you like to see in such a bootcamp? I have a PhD in Healthcare Information Systems, and I will quit my full-time job at a research university, so I can be part of it every day. I would not want for it to be a money-making mill. I love solving complex problems with incremental improvements and collective efforts. What technologies would you like to learn how to use? What kind of equipment would you think be beneficial? What kind of people would draw you to such a bootcamp? Let me know anything that comes to mind. I will be watching and responding as much as I can (I am still working, and I will be traveling this weekend).

submitted by /u/botanicalai
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