We support COMMUNITY research

Any community is capable of solving even the hardest problems using their own skills and resources. The cornerstones of successful community research are comparability of data and methods, validation of tools and people, scientific quality instrumentation, and a collaborative and equitable process.

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We
combine TECH & KNOW-HOW

When modern communities and organizations tackle complex problems, one-size-fits-all solutions just don’t work. We have staff with deep domain knowledge to speak your language and identify the best solution.

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We help
SIMPLIFY your process

Starting and scaling data collection, analysis and distribution is hard. There are lots of tools to tackle parts of the process, but almost none that do them all efficiently, inexpensively, flexibly, and easily. We are a one-stop shop to support your data flow needs with experience, open source software and hardware, and in-house design/visualization support.

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Our Projects

Soil Health Comparison

Soil Health Comparison

Pasa Sustainable Ag

Pasa Sustainable Ag has established producer networks in Pennsylvania to track and compare soil health and sustainable practices.

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Digital Coffee Shop

Digital Coffee Shop

General Mills

General Mills wants to support regenerative practices within its supply chain through supportive and informed producer networks.

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Real Food Campaign

Real Food Campaign

Bionutrient Food Association

The RFC is a non-profit collaborative seeking to increase transparency of nutritional density in the food supply.

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Research Farm Roadmap

Research Farm Roadmap

OpenTEAM

OpenTEAM members are building tools to support adaptive soil health management for farms of all scales, geographies and production systems.

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Precision Ag in Malawi

Precision Ag in Malawi

MSU Snapp Lab

MSU’s Dr. Sieglande Snapp manages a large scale agroecology study in Central and Southern Malawi to create site-specific management recommendations based on SOC levels. 

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What does supporting community research look like?

Every community is on a different point in its journey towards a more collaborative form of science and has different access to skills and tools. Regardless of your starting point, we have the people, tools, and skills to support you.

Every community is unique and community research is relatively new. Finding a group that ‘looks like you’ or a book describing a clear and actionable path often isn’t possible. Or maybe you’ve been engaged in community research but want to change your process, goals, or tools.

We can facilitate effective and honest discussions within the community, provide stories of successes and failures, help identify supporting partners, and suggest the tools you may need to get you to your goals. Once you’ve decided on a direction, we can also provide proposal and business planning support.

Once you have a plan, it’s time to get to work! Community research is unique in the tools, skills, and structures needed to be successful. We love google docs and Airtable too, but we’ve had enough experience to know at what point the conventional options won’t serve your needs. We support projects in:

  • Collaborative project management + tracking
  • Engaging the community in reviewing, understanding, and advancing their questions.
  • Collecting, sharing and reviewing data
  • Finding, designing and/or building unique tools as needed
  • Implementing research plans which are scalable from day one.

Sometimes understanding results is as easy as comparing two numbers. Other times it requires thousands of data points and machine learning experts. Either way, we can help

  • Free tools which empower community exploration of data
  • In-house statistical analysis
  • Networking with others to level up your skills or avoid reinventing the wheel…

Sometimes a question is answered and you’re done! But more often, once a community feels the excitement and power of using a research process to explore the world, they find more places to look. In our experience, the best path to sustainability is to connect communities into strong networks to learn and support each other. We will bring the same knowledge and skills we used to facilitate the GOSH, GOAT, and OpenTEAM networks to help identify or build networks for you

What question(s) are we asking?

Every community is unique and community research is relatively new. Finding a group that ‘looks like you’ or a book describing a clear and actionable path often isn’t possible. Or maybe you’ve been engaged in community research but want to change your process, goals, or tools.

We can facilitate effective and honest discussions within the community, provide stories of successes and failures, help identify supporting partners, and suggest the tools you may need to get you to your goals. Once you’ve decided on a direction, we can also provide proposal and business planning support.

How can we work together?

Once you have a plan, it’s time to get to work! Community research is unique in the tools, skills, and structures needed to be successful. We love google docs and Airtable too, but we’ve had enough experience to know at what point the conventional options won’t serve your needs. We support projects in:

  • Collaborative project management + tracking
  • Engaging the community in reviewing, understanding, and advancing their questions.
  • Collecting, sharing and reviewing data
  • Finding, designing and/or building unique tools as needed
  • Implementing research plans which are scalable from day one.

How can we understand the results?

Sometimes understanding results is as easy as comparing two numbers. Other times it requires thousands of data points and machine learning experts. Either way, we can help

  • Free tools which empower community exploration of data
  • In-house statistical analysis
  • Networking with others to level up your skills or avoid reinventing the wheel…

Getting to a long-term plan

Sometimes a question is answered and you’re done! But more often, once a community feels the excitement and power of using a research process to explore the world, they find more places to look. In our experience, the best path to sustainability is to connect communities into strong networks to learn and support each other. We will bring the same knowledge and skills we used to facilitate the GOSH, GOAT, and OpenTEAM networks to help identify or build networks for you

Tools

SurveyStack

SurveyStack is our in-house data collection, management, and analysis platform, designed with community-driven research in mind.

Project Management and Tracking

We use Gitlab for issue tracking and notes, custom dashboards for tracking complex processes like sample flows or member onboarding, and mkdocs for scalable, collaborative documentation.

Reflectometer

The Our Sci Reflectometer is a general purpose, robust 10 wavelength device for measuring spectral reflectance from liquids (eg. milk), flat objects (eg. leaves) or solids (eg. soils, produce).

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Team

Dan TerAvest

Experienced in bridging the divide between tool development and user experience, coordinating between technical and user teams to develop appropriate tools and methods.

Greg Austic

Open technology advocate, co-organizer of the GOSH and the GOAT.  Jack of all trades capable of getting an idea off the ground quickly and inexpensively.

Manuel Di Cerbo

Head of Software Engineering at Our Sci and Professor at FHNW in Switzerland.  Has a strong background in Embedded Systems and excels in bringing technologies together rapidly.

Will Gardiner

Software engineer and core developer in Our Sci. Designs creative technical solutions for real-world problems.

Dan Kane

Lead researcher on the Quick Carbon project.  Interested in rapid quantification of soil carbon at landscape scales and agriculture as a natural climate solution.

Octavio Duarte

Joined Our Sci as a Data Analyst in May 2020. Designs the processes that transform collected pieces of data into organized and coherent information, and communicates findings via visualizations and interactive dashboards.

Emily Brady

A University of Michigan grad with experience in human-centered design. Works with customers to design successful projects through survey development and implementation.

Nat Irwin

A Yale undergrad with experience in both environmental consulting and agtech entrepreneurship. Manages hardware production, user experience, and sales.

John Zeeff

30 year veteran of Ford and two software startups. Highly skilled programmer, analog and digital circuit designer, and a primary contributor to MultispeQ and Reflectometer hardware.

Partners

Global Urban Forest

Leading specialists in plant health care, with a focus on soils. (more)

Nexus Computing

Software Engineering for Android, Web and Embedded. (more)

Global Change Learning Lab

Facilitating agroecology research and info sharing in Africa. (more)

Bionutrient Food Association

Increasing the nutrient quality of our food supply. (more)

OpenTEAM

Collaborative development of open source tools in agriculture. (more)

QuickCarbon

Rapid, Landscape-Scale Soil Carbon Assessment (more)

General Mills

American manufacturer and marketer of food. (more)

Pasa

Cultivating sustainable, community-focused farms and food systems. (more)

ESMC

Ecosystem Markets. Built for Producers. Backed by Science. (more)

farmOS

Open Source farm management software. (more)

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