It wouldn't make sense to develop a fresh start... and then revert to the old ways of doing things. Indeed, it was the range of experience over 45 years that resulted in the idea that a hybrid approach was needed to develop a realistic model that would both supply our needs, and yet be friendly to the human body and psyche. Industrial farming supplies food en masse, but it is not friendly to the human (nor, in many cases to the animals). At the other end of the scale, CSA farms are work intensive, yet cannot always offer full wages to their workers.1. There must be a third approach.
I was following the farmbot already in 2016, when it first came out. During December of that year, orders went way beyond expectations. Since then, this project has matured. A unit has now been developed that is twice the width and twice the length, to allow for an area that is four times that of the original. It is important to note that this project is open sourced. This makes it an excellent working example of how an open sourced project can not only survive, but thrive. The video is inspiring:
For those not directly experienced with farming, it can generate a lot of data. I worked as a barn manager on a genetics operation that produced purebred Landrace, York and Duroc sows and boars. Detailed records need to be kept for breeding as well as growth parameters. A FIRE feeder was used to track daily growth of individual animals so that top performers could be used. Boar genetic production was closely tied to the season, temperature, humidity and the number of times collected, so detailed records needed to be kept. In fields, soil type, rain fall and heat units affect yield for corn, beans and wheat, three of the main crops grown in SouthWestern Ontario. All of this happens "live".
Ideally, all of this information is passed on from farmer passes to son and the family farm is retained. In reality, farm size has increased and more reliance has been placed on hired hands who have no long term interestes in the farm. This can negatively impact production levels due to high turnover rate based on low pay, repetetive work and long hours. Despite the fact that I was one of the lucky ones, irregular hours were still required due to the well established sow weekly breeding cycle. This was maintained regardless of the time of year or seasonal holidays. Production had to be maintained regardless of the holiday schedule. Although liveable for a few years, over the long term, this causes a wear that in a sense, is artificially created, as sows would not keep up such a tight schedule if breeding on their own.
This backdrop is part of what is being the question, "Isn't there a better way? What if the community sizes were smaller so that everyone could be involved in the various aspects of raising animals, growing food to eat, building and maintaining and so forth This is a matter of design, but not of technical ability. I beleive that is already present. It is just a matter of putting the same things together in a different pattern, so that better results can be obtained from the same amount of work. If done correctly, it should actually be easier to live and work in such an environment and be much healthier for the individual, as well as resulting in higher quality vegatables, crops and healthier and more content animals.
1. Based on personal experience and from looking for work on small scale community supported agriculture farmes.