[personal profile] alexbayleaf

Originally published at Growstuff Blog. You can comment here or there.

There’s nothing quite as arbitrary as declaring January 1st to be the start of the year. Those of us who grow food know that the seasons shift and vary: long or short, hot or cold, wet or dry, according to far more complex systems than a number on a calendar.

packets of seeds stored in a partitioned box

Photo by Bek of Bek’s Backyard, used with permission


Still, for our northern hemisphere friends, the Gregorian calendar’s new year does mark a time of planning and dreaming about 2015’s garden. I’m seeing more and more people talking about seed catalogs and what they want to plant when the weather warms up. Here in the temperate southern latitudes, our summer is in full swing, with tomatoes and zucchini the most popular topics of veggie-gardener conversation.

Are you feeling inspired by seed catalogs? Overwhelmed by zucchini? Use Growstuff to track what you’re growing and harvesting this year.

We have big plans for 2015.

We’re building a platform to share free food-growing information, helping people all round the world learn skills, become more self-sufficient, more resilient in the face of environmental and economic challenges, and build healthier families and communities.

In 2015 we want to reach thousands more people, collect planting and harvest data from growers on every continent, offer useful growing advice to new and experienced growers alike, foster a collaborative and sharing community, and build an ecosystem of apps and services based on Growstuff’s data.

You can be a part of it.

There are dozens of ways to get involved. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Research crops to add to our database
  • Run a local Growstuff meetup in your area
  • Test our website’s latest features
  • Help us tell Growstuff’s story and share it with your network
  • Let us know your great ideas for Growstuff’s future

Come join us and help make it happen!

Upcoming Growstuff events

a hand holding a large bowl full of tomatoes, peppers, and peas

A summer harvest of tomatoes and peppers. CC-BY Oakley Originals

As usual our Melbourne coding contingent are having regular get-togethers to build new Growstuff features. You can join us at:

  • Ruby hack night — 2nd Tuesday of the month at Inspire9 in Richmond. The next one will be Tuesday March 10th.
  • Hackstuff — last Sunday of the month. This is usually at Library at the Dock, Docklands, but in January we’ll be visiting Ballarat for some veggie garden tours and a change of scenery.
  • February 4th we will be at Melbourne’s Open Knowledge Workshop at Thoughtworks in the CBD.

We’ve found in-person events to be one of the best ways to meet people who care about good food, open source software, and bringing the two together. If you’d like to hold a local Growstuff event (either a coding session, or a social get together), let us know!

Information about all upcoming events can be found on our Growstuff events page.

What’s new on the tech front

A quick update on some of our recent progress on the tech side:

  • A big change to our process: we’ve moved to Github issues to track features, bugs, and other technical work we want to do. This integrates better with our coding practices, and is easier for new people to participate in, than our previous issue tracker.
  • Taylor has led a fantastic effort to upgrade our software to Rails 4, which will lead on to many future improvements.
  • Yoong, Alex and Miles have been working on social features, including following other members, improvements to posts and discussions, and better notifications. We’ve also been working on some design for private accounts, and figuring out all the implications of that.
  • We have some massive uploads of new crops staged and ready to go, thanks to the folks who attended our London coding weekend, including Juliet, Marion, and Sam.
  • Taylor and Maki made a great start on internationalising our website, to allow it to be translated into other languages.
  • We’re actively working on building version 1 of our API, as a result of the crowdfunding we ran last year. Thanks to Paul for his work on the initial framework for this!
  • Heaps of other features and bugfixes, too many too enumerate here, but a shoutout to our new code contributors Emma, Kevin, Justin, and Wendy all of whom will have code included in our next release.

Thanks everyone for all your work!

If you’d like to keep up with Growstuff between newsletters, check out the Growstuff blog or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

[personal profile] alexbayleaf

Originally published at Growstuff Blog. You can comment here or there.

We’ve had some busy times over the last few months, and thought it was time to bring you up to speed on what’s been going on with Growstuff since we last sent out a newsletter, as well as what’s coming up.

Growstuff Hack Night in San Francisco, Wednesday June 18th

First of all, a quick note to those of you in the San Francisco Bay Area — we’re holding a hack night on the 18th, for anyone who’d like to help improve Growstuff, or build stuff with Growstuff’s API or open data.

What’s a hack night? It’s an evening when we get together to build and make stuff in a hands-on way. It’s participatory, fast-paced, and fun.

It’s for developers, designers, data geeks, or anyone at all who’s interested. No experience necessary — we can pair you up with someone or teach you, or if you know about growing food and are happy to talk about how you do it, we can definitely use that expertise!

Interested? Find out more information on the Growstuff Blog.

We’ll be in Portland at the end of June

Skud will be attending AdaCamp and Open Source Bridge in June, so make sure to say “hi” if you’re going to be there!

New features on the site

We’ve recently added a handful of new stuff to the site, including:

  • Crop search! This much anticipated feature makes it easy to find crops from wherever you are on the site. Try it out.
  • Roots and tubers: you can now plant vegetables such as potatoes from “root/tuber”, which was previously missing from the list. Thanks to one of our newest volunteer developers, Maco, for this improvement :)
  • We’ve replaced our maps. The old map provider stopped offering services to smaller websites, so we’ve switched to Mapbox. We apologise for the short period when the map on our Places page was out of action.
  • New crops: some of our recently added crops include Good King Henry, several varieties of kiwifruit, hazelnut, snap pea, cowpea, and
    romaine lettuce. If you find crops missing and would like them added you can request them here.

3000 Acres

Over the past few months, Skud has been working on another open source food-growing website based partly on Growstuff’s code. Check out 3000 Acres, which is helping residents of Melbourne, Australia find vacant land to grow food, and build communities to grow it with.

Since the two projects share an open source license, Growstuff also benefits by being able to re-use some of the code from 3000 Acres, so you can look forward to us picking up a few new features from them, as well.

That’s all, folks!

Stay in touch by following us on Twitter — we love to hear feedback and suggestions any time.

[personal profile] alexbayleaf

Originally published at Growstuff Blog. You can comment here or there.

Are you in the San Francisco Bay Area next week? I’m visiting town for a bit and the fab people at Double Union feminist hacker/maker space are hosting a Growstuff Hack Night for us.

When: Wednesday June 18th, 2014, 6:30-10pm

Where: Double Union, 4th floor, 333 Valencia St, in the Mission District. More info here.

Who: Anyone interested in building open source software for food growers! New developers and non-developers welcome; we’re happy to teach, pair you with someone more experienced, or help you find a non-coding project to work on.

Food: We’ll order food that fits the dietary needs of folks who come (veg*n, gluten free, etc).

There are heaps of things to work on, but some possibilities include:

  • Extending our crops database to include even more forms of edible plants (we need researchers and data entry folks for this!)
  • Displaying more visual data about how and where things are grown, including maps and charts (designers! front-end folks!)
  • Adding features like wishlists, email notifications, better social features, or better seed swapping.
  • Improving accessibility and/or responsive features.
  • Using the Growstuff API to build apps, plugins for other software, or other cool toys.
  • Analysing the data available so far from Growstuff’s gardeners, to understand how food is being grown around the world.

For those of you hoping to hack on the Growstuff code itself, you’ll need to set up your development environment. If you’d like a hand with this, ahead of the hack night itself, we’ll be at DU tomorrow night too (Thursday, June 12th) from 6:30pm and are happy to give you a hand. Or drop Skud an email at skud@growstuff.org or drop in to #growstuff on Freenode IRC any time.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Skud

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