From online Farmville to offline urban farms – shared commons
Let’s Come Back Offline
from Learning from Farmville
by Stephanie Smith
Jan 29, 2010
Let’s come back offline and bring our new social networking toolkit with us. Why don’t we create an urban farm that integrates everything we’re learning about community-based sharing from both the physical and the virtual realms? This farm would be an online/offline mash-up of social and community infrastructures that could act as a model for how our 21st century ‘commons’ will work. Sounds to me like the kind of utopia Stewart Brand and “the hippies who built the internet” first imagined, and that can finally be realized today.
Our most robust communities can now be found online. Social media is a powerful communal infrastructure on which millions of people efficiently and effectively share their lives. And while we’re gathering online, our offline ‘commons’ languishes. The town square, the mall, main street, the movie cinema all feel dormant in comparison. Social networks have become the new urban architecture, the ‘commons’ for our time.
What FarmVille can teach Columbia about local food
By Elizabeth Kipp-Giusti
Jan 28, 2010
Simply put, the game is a lesson in the necessity of agricultural community, a fact that applies to contemporary farms as much as it did a little more than 100 years ago. The 20th century model of engorged super-farms has proven itself unwieldy, dangerous, and irresponsible. The environmental impact of large shipments of produce is an outpouring of carbon into the atmosphere, creating a layer impermeable to solar rays, which in turn increases the global temperature. Beyond that, the practice of creating monocultures poses the risk that, should a pathogen or bacteria attack the produce, the entire crop could be decimated. These facts are pertinent to the choices that we, both at Columbia and in our daily lives, make. But we can also look to FarmVille to teach another lesson: local farms require the aid of their neighbors. Support of local agriculture is important because it breeds more local agriculture. There is no restart button on real-world farms.
Photo by by Anita Jamal
City folk are among the biggest ‘FarmVille’ fans
January 29, 2010
Even while calling Chicago home, Laura Hawkins Grimes is a country bumpkin.
Her scenic rural spread has three dairy farms, two ponds and a log cabin, all skirted by a white picket fence as scarecrows stand sentry over her blackberries.
And the best part is the 40-year-old sex therapist never has to leave her computer to tend to it all. She’s one of tens of millions of occupants of “FarmVille,” a near-utopian, wildly popular online fantasy game where folks rush to another neighbor’s aid, ribbons readily come as rewards, plants don’t get diseased and there’s never a calamitous frost, flood or drought.
Since its launch last summer, the cartoonish simulation game seeming to meld “Leave it to Beaver” and “Green Acres” has become a Facebook phenomenon, luring in everyone from urbanites like Grimes to actual farmers while gently nudging people to think more about where their food comes from.