The Program

 

The Future Farmstead program led by the University of Georgia’s Colleges of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Family and Consumer Sciences is a research extension and education initiative dedicated to the future of food, energy, and the environment. Partners in this project include Cadmus Design-Build, Moultrie Technical College, United States Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, and many more.  A complete list of sponsors and partners can be found here.

The Future Farmstead program is about Living Smart and relates to the home, education, family, and small businesses. One of the program's features is a net-zero home/lab; designed for comfort, affordability, and efficiency of both people and energy, and is surrounded by an edible landscape.

The home/lab is a learning center to be explored by the thousands of people we expect to visit each year to learn more about living smart, net-zero energy homes, gardening, agriculture, food preservation, and using communications tools to make life at home and business better. With graduate students living and learning in this discovery home, it is also a test-bed for future development. The home connects to many small businesses, testing systems to make life more efficient.

The program highlights how an array of wireless internet control systems, cameras, location, and other sensors can help farmers check on and manage livestock, distant fields, irrigation systems, locate equipment, and even people from nearly anywhere.  Information about the various types of sensors used can be found here.

Like the home the edible landscape that surrounds it is one of beauty and function; highlighting plant breeding efforts that have helped food crops use nutrients and water more efficiently and become more resistant to pests.  The landscape surrounding the home is also designed to help school systems transform their worn grassy areas into an outdoor learning environment. Imagine a school yard that produces a treat for the lunch room, seesaws pump water for the gardens irrigation system, and perhaps even the merry-go-rounds or a giant hamster wheel help generate the electricity for the science classroom, enticing physical and mental activity.