Some students from HackCville has recently been working with the University of Virginia to introduce hydrotonic “gardens” in various buildings on grounds as a cheap, environmentally friendly way to grow food. If this project is successful, it will show how a cheap form of agriculture can be developed in an urbanized environment.

In class, we discussed how the world has been experiencing large amounts of rural-urban migration. This leads to fewer people in areas where large-scale agriculture is possible but the demands for agriculture have not fallen. Thus, a possible solution is to create a source of agriculture that has been redesigned for the urban environment.

Possible open source designs have led to cheap greenhouses that can be created in workshops. The products of these kinds of designs can produce products to be sold in various revenue streams or for personal use (ex. the gardens on UVA grounds).

To compare OSD vs IP in this context, there are a variety of different variables that must be considered. I will discuss supply, wealth redistribution and the business canvas.

Firstly, to address the issue of rural-urban migration and steady demand, OSD would help tremendously by giving individuals in urban areas the ability to contribute to the overall supply. IP generally does not provide this opportunity because of the restrictions placed on useful technologies. This will shift the supply curve right and reduce the cost of agricultural products for the consumers which will result in benefits on many levels.

A second impact of implementing a more OSD is on wealth redistribution affecting the wealth gap.  If a cheaper form of agricultural growth can become more available, then more people will have the means to enter the agriculture industry and produce products that can be sold in places like farmers markets.

In class, we discussed how the business canvas model and how it does not discriminate between IP vs OSD. The 9 components of the model are key partners, key activities, key resources, value propositions, customer relationships, channels, customer segments, cost structure, and revenue streams. It was discussed the the value of a product is created by the consumers who decide to make purchases and create the revenue stream. Whether or not the product was made as a result of OSD or IP does not make an impact on the decisions of consumers.

All in all, OSD in agriculture will create more overall value than IP would. Without even considering the impact OSD agriculture could have on lower income areas, it can be seen that OSD will result in tremendous benefit in urban areas. Because of these positive benefits, I strongly believe that the agricultural industry is one that should definitely implement a more OSD policy.

Sources

Business Canvas Model

Open Source Ecology

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