Commons Based DIY Farm Tool Production, ‘AutoConstruction’

posted July 27, 2019

Spearheading the movement for cooperative, user-led tool production in Quebec’s farming community is CAPÉ, la Cooperatif pour Agriculture de Proximité biologique et Écologique. “AutoConstruction” in French, collective, DIY tool production allows farmers to save money by working together and buying materials in bulk. These projects allow participants to enjoy a dynamic workspace and the expertise of an entire group, in addition to manufacturing unique tools that do not exist on the market yet allow for better farming practices.

Farmer, researcher, traveler and writer Samuel Oslund published this beautiful photo essay while researching L’Atelier Paysan in 2016. According to Samuel, “Whether in France, Quebec, the US, or Italy, I have observed that a common theme of this movement is inclusion and participation. Rather than creating uncomfortable, exclusive or intimidating spaces, the hackathons and builds I’ve observed and participated in are always filled with a mix of ages, genders, and people from different experience.”

“This model gives communities direct access to tools created specifically for their needs, and at the core of the designs is the knowledge that they will be hacked, tweaked, and rethought by each user. This has the added benefit of prompting quicker innovation in future and diverse iterations of the tools as they are adapted to suit different needs.”

When evaluating the success of these projects there are many variables to take into consideration from labor, coordination and design, to development and prototyping. With a hackathon it can be difficult to quantify some of these values, because the events are aimed at actively building skills and knowledge through hands-on practice. In the cold and somewhat isolating months of the Quebec winter, these workshops also serve as an excuse to gather together old and new friends from across the province.

Follow CAPÉ’s AutoConstruction Facebook page to learn more, watch inspiring build videos, and get invoved in the movement!

farmhack iowa

posted May 9, 2012

20-21 June 2012
echollective farm, 879 echo ave.
farm hack iowa: inviting farmers, designers, engineers, and tinkerers to come together to share, create, and re-purpose farm tools and technologies. focused on on-farm energy production, electric tractor conversion, biodiesel production from waste oil, micro-wind, micro-hydro, and wood gas/producer gas fuels.
sponsored by the greenhorns, the national young farmer coalition, and new belgium brewing.
for more information, the schedule, presenters, to rsvp, and to get hacking, please click here.
to download the press release, please click here.


mobile biodiesel processing!

posted April 11, 2012

Wonderful news from GreenStart NH!

After many years of prototyping and revisions, our self-contained, mobile biodiesel processor will soon be ready to process New Hampshire-grown vegetable oil into fuel to power our farms.  Our next steps with this project will be a final bill of materials, documenting the technology, and publishing the designs to the National Young Farmers Coalition’s FARM HACK so that it can be recreated and improved upon by farmers anywhere in the country.  An in-depth working tour of the technology will be provided at an upcoming field day event (date to be announced).


next farmhack event!

posted August 4, 2011

The next Farm Hack event from NYFC will be September 17th in Syracuse, NY on the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry campus. It is a meeting of minds between students, faculty, farmers and other professionals to create solutions for small scale farmers. There will be people with backgrounds in biology, ecology, landscape architecture, environmental engineering and of course farming. Click here for more details.

Please let me know if you are interested in participating and tell your farmer friends!