Helping local famers with elm-pages and civic hacking - live stream

Hello all,

I’m excited to be pairing on some Civic Hacking with Luke Westby this weekend. We’re working with our local Farmers’ Market vendors to build a delivery app to help them through these tough times. :carrot::honeybee::honey_pot::leafy_green:

We’re building the app from scratch with elm-pages, so this will be a great introduction if you’re interested in learning about building static/JAMstack sites with Elm.

Streaming live Saturday @ 10am Pacific


You can add it to your calendar and see it in your local time at

I’ve been wanting to do some static site-building for a cause for a while. The JAMstack empowers us as frontend devs to do so much. So I’m really glad to be doing this now, and hope to do more live streams in the future to build things for a cause and help people learn at the same time.


Thanks for the live coding series.

When I started learning Elm four years ago, Aaron VonderHaar’s live coding videos on YouTube proved the best learning resource.

I appreciate that your live coding videos are at intermediate level. Your “phantom builder pattern” session was a great introduction to the internals of elm-pages, so looking forward to this follow-up.

And, yeah, we do need that blog post about the “phantom builder pattern” technique. I had to rewatch that one minute section of the video when the magic happened a couple of times.


I think there is room in the marketplace for an app to facilitate decentralized food production and delivery. I’ve given it some thought for more than a year now, but I’ve made no other progress on it since other projects have taken precedence, among them actual food production and delivery. Over the last two days I’ve moved over a ton of manure. I expect to plant sweet corn and potatoes, perhaps mostly as donations since so many are losing their ability to pay.

Most of the efficiencies in the gig economy come from making public what once was private, whether your private car in the case of ride hail or meal delivery apps, your private house, or private information. Small farmers, and especially hobby farmers who don’t regularly make money growing food, are especially resistant to making their capabilities public, and yet they often participate in informal networks. If an app can be designed to incentivize sharing this information by keeping some of it local and private, yet disincentivizing those who are unreliable or merely trying to arbitrage the system, this can encourage more informal food production.

This has been tried various times before. Centralized food production has been too inexpensive for hobby farmers to compete, but also they may have been experiments in social engineering rather than social modeling. The closer you can match the needs and motivations of the likely participants, the more people will engage. So there needs to be a credit system to compensate those who are more naturally competitive, yet not convertible to actual currency in order to encourage benevolence (people can donate credits, identifying those who may need extra food assistance). For many countries the tax and legal complications multiply when money is transferred, and likewise there can be problems with prepared food. So I would especially target backyard-grown fruit and vegetables, and also transportation.

The app would need to do distance calculations to determine efficient peer-to-peer transportation and the closest source of commodities, but that information might have to be by default hidden if it would reveal private homes. Businesses would want the most exposure, but they would not well compensated, perhaps only in credits and advertising, or there could be a separate section for monetarily-compensated transactions, but this could be a slippery slope since they would not be aiming for a zero-credit balance which would reflect an equal amount of giving as receiving.

Anyways, if someone wants to further develop some of these ideas, these interesting times might be reason to do so.

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@mikela Don’t know where you live, but if its in the USA or Canada, you should look into Organic Valley. Smaller scale organic farmers already created their own co-op to bring their produce to market more effectively, and Organic Valley has been very succesful. Don’t know if they need Elm programmers…

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Yes, I think this is a great time to use our skills to use to build things for the community! The way you’re talking about your ideas, I’m hearing a lot of passion, but also a little intimidation at the scale of the problem. It’s a familiar feeling, in fact I feel like that’s usually how ideas about tech projects start (at least for me).

I’ve found it really helpful to start by thinking about how I can solve one part of the problem, for one small group of people (maybe the people in your community… or sometimes it’s just solving a problem for yourself first). That frees up your mind to start seeing concrete actions you can take, instead of getting paralyzed by a very large problem. I try to notice when I’m excited about something, but feeling paralyzed by the size of the problem and the number of unknowns, and then I try to break it down.

Sometimes I think about this Mother Teresa quote. Interestingly, I think that the same concept applies to solving problems with software.

I never look at the masses as my responsibility; I look at the individual. I can only love one person at a time - just one, one, one. So you begin. I began - I picked up one person. Maybe if I didn’t pick up that one person, I wouldn’t have picked up forty-two thousand

Hopefully the work that Luke and I did today can help at least one person right now! We’re starting really simple, and though there are still a lot of unknowns, we’ll learn a lot when we get this simple solution out there in the wild and see what happens!

I posted the recording for anyone who missed the stream:

We got a really simple page, pulling in data from the Square API using elm-pages. The views aren’t responsive yet, but they look decent on mobile!


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