by Steve Heckeroth
by Steve Heckeroth
On Saturday 18th & Sunday 19th April 2015 The Landworkers Alliance will be hosting the first ever FarmHack event outside of North America at Ruskin Mill Farm, Gloucestershire, UK. The event will bring together farmers, growers, fabricators, engineers and IT programmers to demonstrate and share tools, skills and ideas. Over the two days there will be field demonstrations, practical workshops, seminars, entertainment, good food, local ale and a stomping ceilidh.
FarmHack is a community of farmers and growers developing appropriate tools for small scale ecological farming. It was co-founded by The Greenhorns, Greenstart, and The National Young Farmers Colation in the U.S. in 2010 and has since held regular events to bring the community together on farms and in workshops across the USA. FarmHack is founded on the principles of open source technology meaning that tools and techniques are also shared and developed on the online forum farmhack.net.
This past weekend, an ace team of farmers, fabricators, engineers, and pedal-powered truckers gathered at in Somerville, MA for a weekend build event. What project would bring such an intriguing group of individuals together? Only the , a pedal-powered cultivating tractor designed by Tim Cooke, that uses human brawn and bicycle brains to replace fossil fuel powered tractors for lightweight field cultivation. Culticycle video here!
Meet Dorn Cox. He grows sunflowers in addition to many other things. He has figured out that four acres of sunflowers will yield 300 gallons of fuel at a cost of approximately $1 per gallon to produce. He presses the seeds for their oil while tilling the fibrous plant material back into the soil. The solid by-product (cake) of the pressing is used for animal feed. Nothing is wasted or thrown away! The oil is refined through a multi-step process in a repurposed soda distributor’s panel truck, whose compartments afford the perfect set-up for the multiple refining tanks. The fuel moves from tank to tank by way of compressed air, so no emissions are created in the refining process. It is totally self-contained. Dorn calculates that his biodiesel gives back 3 to 5 times more energy than it takes to create it. To read more, CLICK HERE!
Here is the updated schedule: Mendocino Farm Hack
Mendocino County will host its first FarmHack at the Little Lake Grange and Ridgewood Ranch in Willits, CA this December 6-7. This weekend long event will bring together business owners, engineers and mechanics, farmers and home-scale producers to learn about the possibilities of ethanol production and use. A series of workshops, panel discussions, and demonstrations will provide a comprehensive knowledge of this renewable, sustainable fuel source with an emphasis on how we as a community can collaborate and reduce our waste stream and our petroleum addiction.
For more information, contact: