Seeking to influence the next generation of food production, FarmBot, the world’s first open-source, CNC small-scale farming machine, gives individuals the power to create and manage a garden using a laptop, tablet, or phone.
“FarmBot is helping consumers produce and grow their own food,” said founder Rory Aronson. “It is much more than knowing where your food originated. With our open-source technology, anyone who wants to contribute and help us build the future of farming has that opportunity.”
FarmBot launched in 2016, aiming to market its initial product and FarmBot Genesis technology directly at a mix of DIY-ers and makers.
A year later, FarmBot was named a recipient of Proto Labs’ Cool Idea! Award, a manufacturing grant that helps startups bring innovative products to market.
Proto Labs’ manufacturing grant and product development experts helped FarmBot transition from 3D-printed components to more repeatable and cost-effective injection-molded parts.
This resulted in a more efficient supply chain, which gave FarmBot the ability to quickly react to demand among its growing customer base.
The manufacturing and supply chain agility offered by Proto Labs will ensure that FarmBot continues to innovate and evolve its components as the team plans critical areas for growth.
As FarmBot grew, elementary schools, research universities, and other institutions started to recognize the potential it could play in teaching students about agriculture, engineering, and technology.
Aronson and his team view FarmBot as a collaborative tool that can educate and empower communities, not just students or individuals. “FarmBot can fit a variety of applications, but we believe it has a lot of potential to spur interest in learning about agriculture and open-source technology across generations and across communities,” said Aronson.
The FarmBot team is planning to develop an open-source curriculum to complement its technology.
As customers continue to demand FarmBot for educational and individual micro-farming purposes, Aronson and his team are focused on streamlining their manufacturing supply chain, so they can more easily build out new features on FarmBot’s software and hardware.
The excitement generated by FarmBot has even taken the team to NASA, where they are in discussions with engineers and scientists about adapting FarmBot for space agriculture.
“As more educators and students experience the technology, we will continue to expand it and bring FarmBot into more homes and possibly into space.