Open Source Ecology pioneers
Posted on January, 29th 2015.
The Open Source Ecology pioneers are building the foundations of a new civilization - one machine at a time.
They are farmers, engineers, entrepreneurs - even simple DIYers - developing open source Do It Yourself ecological industrial machinery, and publishing the plans via an Internet platform. These machines are modular, simple and infinitely reproducible - anyone can make them at little cost, and adapt them. Their vocation: creating the "Global Village Construction Set" (GVCS), a sort of life-size Lego set that can make fifty machines and the key production tools for establishing a modern self-sustainable village. It includes a tractor, a combine harvester, a bakery oven, a 3D printer, a 3D scanner, a wind turbine... The construction set even includes machines that make other machines!
Open source tractor
Marcin Jakubowski, who founded Open Source Ecology (OSE) in 2003, is behind this ambitious, unique project. Having graduated with honors from Princeton and earned a Ph.D. in fusion physics from the University of Wisconsin, he became frustrated with the lack of congruence between his studies and the world’s pressing issues. He decided to settle on a farm in Missouri to learn about organic farming techniques. Soon, he became disheartened by the mechanical problems he encountered - especially with the wretched tractor he struggled to repair but did not have the money to replace! O.K. so be it! He’d make a new tractor himself - an adaptable, easy to repair tractor… then he started a Wiki and published the plans. Lots of people got involved with this Wiki, some even visited Marcin on his farm and helped design other machines. And so a new collaborative movement was born.
“At Factor e Farm, we grow ideas and put them into practice.”
OSE is an amazing collective adventure. An adventure led by a handful of pioneers who are driven by the desire to change the world through open innovation. In 2007, Marcin Jakubowski converted his farm so that he could welcome volunteers. The machines are prototyped and tested there, every step is documented and shared via the GVCS platform. The farm itself is a socio-technical experiment: "at Factor e Farm, we cultivate ideas and put them into practice”. Marcin and his team are trying to realize their vision of a small, autonomous, productive community, with modern comforts that draws only on local resources. Meanwhile, donations flowed in (from individuals, "true fans" and prestigious organizations such as the Shuttleworth Foundation) – and contributors from all over the world have stepped up to design a particular piece of equipment or a series of GVCS specific pieces of equipment. For example Open Source Ecology France is focusing on machines related to the issue of energy. Some forty GCVS machines are now under development.
The "Civilization Starter Kit"
These machines are only the first stones in the edifice. They are the foundations of a new economy that the pioneers of the Open Source Ecology aim to build brick by brick. They are convinced that the GVCS will contribute to the emergence of distributed production (in which consumers become producers), short circuits, and small resilient village communities that are able to cope with economic crises and the effects of climate change. They are advocates for environmentally conscious technology that can be adapted by anyone.
In the meantime, the results of their work – all the GVCS technical documentation – has been published in a guide called the "Civilization Starter Kit". A kit that will launch a whole civilization from scratch.
Main picture: Marcin Jakubowski - Copyrights “all rights reserved”