I struggled to decide whom to showcase in my first post: the premiere of it lends a sense of importance, as if it should be emblematic of all that is to follow. (Is a good start necessary for a strong pursuit?) Nonetheless, despite my hesitancy in choosing, in honor of their recent visit to Cleveland last Friday (January 7th) to seek collaborators on their super-project, I’ve chosen the Open Source Ecology folks. And man, are they cool.
Who they are: A team of people, led by Marcin Jacubowski, that is in the midst of creating DIY industrial machines that enable the formation of self-sufficient, resilient and sustainable communities with modern-day comforts. They live on their own 30-acre farm (“Factor e Farm”) near Kansas City, Missouri, where they live by their own principles and try out their creations. Their first project, The Global Village Construction Set, involves the creation of 50 industrial machines with interchangeable parts that are self-built, replicable, more easily maintained, and significantly cheaper than their manufactured equivalents. The machine designs are based upon the principles of permaculture, which means they integrate ecological harmony and use waste as a resource.
The vision of the Open Source Ecology group extends beyond the practicality of these machines. They dream of civilizations that are stewards of the land and “able to seek self-actualization,” being freed from the material limitations that otherwise privilege certain sects of society over others on the basis of resources, access, and knowledge. Their goal is to improve our current economic system “far beyond its present morasse of inefficiency and artificial scarcity” and in turn increase quality of life.
Their progress: The Open Source Ecology team currently has 8 of their proposed 40 machines prototyped (they believe these 40 machines will be all that’s necessary for communities to be self-functioning- they enable food production, energy capturing, housing construction, and technological innovation.) The group has already released their first machine for replication: the Compressed Earth Brick Press, which sells at $8,000 (as opposed to the $45,000-$60,000 manufactured price for a comparable instrument on the market). Their goal is to have their entire set of machines ready for national and global replication within 2 years and they also have plans to start the first independent off-the-grid village implementing their dream at that time (“PostscarCity”- interested friends? 🙂 )
Right now, the team is currently traveling around the U.S. gathering support for their project (including skilled/interested individuals who want to work on the development of the remaining machines). Thus, if you want to do something different and are excited by their idea, contact them!
Check out the Open Source Ecology blog