Recipe please: The ‘base biscuit’ for farmer and community driven innovation - evokeAG.

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Recipe please: The ‘base biscuit’ for farmer and community driven innovation

Guy Coleman, 29, is the youngest of three, equipping him with the innate ability to share everything perfectly evenly. A self-confessed geek, obsessed with agriculture who grew up dreaming of getting a Clauss Lexion harvester for his birthday (spoiler: it never happened). He’s also an advocate for building on the foundations to get agtech back to the fundamentals of farmer and community driven innovation.

Guy Coleman, 29, was a 2024 evokeAG. Future Young Leader, and Founder, OpenWeedLocator (OWL) – a low-cost, open-source DIY weed detector to improve accessibility to precision agricultural technologies.

I handed out homemade, freshly baked biscuits to the audience at evokeAG. 2024, straight from the pages of my grandma’s treasured recipe book, ‘The CWA Cookery Book and Household Hints’, the 27th edition.  

There are so many ways to make them, but they all come down to one base recipe – oats, flour, sugar, golden syrup and butter.  They’ve been tweaked and adapted, but these recipes have been shared through people and time.  

Most importantly, if I wanted to create my own biscuit company, or, I wouldn’t need to redevelop the foundational biscuit recipe from scratch. All I need is the recipe book, a touch a personal flair, some business acumen and maybe some venture capital (VC) backing (especially if I mentioned the oven has artificial intelligence)  

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But I’m not a baker. I didn’t even make the biscuits myself – my mum did.  

But it brings me to this question; why in agriculture have we decided that reinventing base biscuit recipes every few months, every funding call, every choc chip hype cycle, is better than building and sharing those base recipes? 

Unique and close recipes for every iteration does not scale.  

It does not create the foundational recipes that we all love and like to share.  

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And it’s not the most impactful way of improving productivity, nor creating the thriving agritech ecosystem that we all so desire. 

So how do we transform our approach? How do we improve biscuit quality, not just in one store but in every location in Australia? How do we let ourselves stand on the shoulders of the baked good giants? 

I have the answer in the OpenWeedLocator (OWL), a base recipe for weed detection and site-specific weed control. 

Guy Coleman on stage at evokeAG 2024.

Guy Coleman, evokeAG. 2024 Future Young Leader. Image | Mr.Wigley Photography.


  1. Take a tiny computer, relay controller board, and a driver board, sprinkled with a dash of software. What do you get?  
  2. An innovation platform 
  3. Recipes that have been edited and adapted each tweaked to the unique requirements at every single agricultural industry.  
  4. Open-source recipes for code, for data, the instructions on how they’re built.  
  5. Base recipe from which to adapt and allow farmers to innovate into their niche use case.  

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  1. Lower barriers to technology development and adoption, create a thriving agritech ecosystem. 
  2. Improve the innovation opportunity for everyone.  
  3. Build off the open-source principles of community, collaboration, transparency, test early and often. 
  4. Enable ag tech to become a faster moving, more innovative and more user, or farmer driven, industry.  

Proof is in the pudding

The OWL community is going global.  

Researchers, schools, and universities are interested now that agritech is within their technical and financial reach.  More minds from across the world working on a single problem. 

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Blueberry growers in the Pacific Northwest in the USA have adapted it, horse radish researchers, growers in Australia, people building and contributing in Denmark, France, UK, India, China, New Zealand, South Africa and Chile. Every continent except Antarctica, all built off one base recipe. 

If we come together and put these tools for innovation in farmers and everyone’s hands, we pull back the curtain.  

Five Future Young Leaders pose with the evokeAG 2024 sign.

Guy (far right) with the evokeAG. 2024 Future Young Leader cohort.

And the OWL is just one niche use case. Open-source software globally is valued at over 3.8 trillion dollars and built at a cost of just 4.8 billion. 

Imagine the potential if we adopt this in every corner of agritech.  

Back to the biscuit we know inside out

Let’s get agritech back to the fundamentals of farmer and community driven innovation, where farmers can continually hack the tools and technology to meet the conditions that they know better than anyone else.  

Public funders should be actively investing in the base recipes to support grower driven innovation – public funds, public recipes. Companies continue using those open-source repositories. They’re amazing resources but consider giving back to the communities and embrace the opportunity of others building off your product and work.  

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Let’s get agritech back to those fundamental requirements where farmers can hack those tools and technology to meet those conditions.  

Let’s challenge ourselves to release recipes that in just 100 years, like the 27th edition of the Country Women’s Association Cookery Book and Household Hints, contain the changes of generations of ag innovators. 

Guy Coleman was part of the 2024 Future Young Leaders program that saw five emerging leaders in agrifood, innovation and related industries build their capabilities, skills, confidence and networks, to ultimately present their key message, innovations or research project on an AgriFutures evokeAG. 2024 stage.

Sign up here to hear more from the thought leaders and change makers about the role of agrifood tech innovation in shaping a sustainable future and receive updates on evokeAG. 2025 in Brisbane, Queensland on 18-19 February.    

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