the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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accessible innovation

Haven’t we been hearing or a long time that that human innovation and technology will be the thing that gets us through the projected crisis’ ahead, from the environmental, to the social and political. Yet even as we are seeing an unprecedented increase in affordable technologies, these solutions still tend to consolidate power in the hands of a few as most are proprietary by design.

Wasn’t it Wendell Berry that said a solution is not a solution if it is not available to all? It’s a rational that resonates with a lot of the opensource and farmhack ethos of simple, user designed, accessible technologies and practices. Because beyond just being accessible, open source innovations respond to the needs of a community rather than being prescriptive solutions coming from outside.

We’re excited about this little project by some folks from France called The Gold of Bengal. The group has been sailing a boat made of recycled material, navigating the the world in search of different interesting initiatives. Their current voyage began in 2015 and for the next 3 years they are documenting low-technology innovations that they encounter along the way.

Three cheers for community led, decentralized, open innovation!

You can find out more info about the Nomade des Mers voyage here and look at some of their low-tech lab documentation here. And while you’re feeling inspired maybe you want to contribute some of your own low tech solutions to the farmhack tool list.


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write 200 words, take an eco-retreat in beautiful appalachia

PocahontasCounty.wmg

Greenhorns blog reader Robin Wilson has an intriguing pitch for anyone out there who could use a free eco-village retreat. I’ve driven through West Virginia in the Spring: the rolling hills, the verdant green, me senses magic afoot there! Those of you out there who aren’t tied ball and chain to a greenhouse of needy baby plants, do it for the rest of us! (And while we’re living vicariously through you, think about riding your bike there…)

She describes the opportunity:

“Five days in rural West Virginia between May 19 and June 11, 2017
• Simple living, activist, eco-village, experience in rural West Virginia.
• Time to write, research, create. Learn or swap ideas about Appalachian history, nature, gardening, tree crops, and carbon neutral ways of life
• Room and board in exchange for three hours shared work per day – garden / orchard work, building, organizing for people and planet over profit.
• Housing: small separate bedroom and use of outhouse, Food: mostly local and mostly vegetarian
• Please send a short (max 200 words) pitch for why you’re a good fit for this idea – Robin Wilson robin@wvcag.org – I’ll email you back if it looks like it will work for one of the five day slots between the dates given.”

 


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the small farmers journal sends their thanks

Huzzah!

We’ve received news from Lynn and the team at The Small Farmers Journal that their kickstarter campaign to get the 161’st and 162nd edition to print has been a resounding success.

The publication is rare mix in slowtech know-how and informed, irreverant editorials – all set alongside beautiful photos and artifacts from agricultural history.

If you’re not familiar with it, we suggest popping by their newfangled (almost as nice as the publication) website, where you can pick up your own copy of the journal.

 


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a mushroom with a story

book review by Samuel Oslund

Salvage capitalism, ecological assemblages, and precarity… These are a few concepts that Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing fleshes out in The Mushroom At the End of the World, a genre bending book that tracks the global economy by way of the Matsutake mushroom.

As a farmer, I have noticed that my own ways of thinking and seeing the world have shifted with each passing season. I have felt something akin to love for an animal that I knew would one day be dinner, have felt tremendous connection to invisible soil critters and life webs as I hoed through pea patches. Social scientists refer to this process as affect, the suggestion that other-than-human-beings (plants, animals, earth elements) can impact and shape our ways of being.  Continue reading


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from the horses mouth

Okay, so perhaps we don’t like to repost to some of the bigger, traditional purveyors of economics, but here is a podcast on alternative local currency coming at you from Bloomberg…

The episode focuses on BerkShares, which is currency started in the Berkshires, MA. If you’re familiar with E.F. Schumacher (Small is Beautiful) you may also know that his thinking inspired some very cool projects that continue to this day. One such initiative is the local BerkShare, one of the longest running and successful alternative currencies in the US.

So, back to Bloomberg – here is one of the largest US media publications ,that focuses on the economy (re: free market), taking the time to look at local currency. Hey, that’s pretty good news and it’s also a very informative and interesting podcast!

Give it a listen here.


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it’s art, it’s recycle, it’s fuel, it’s interfaith, it’s awesome

We couldn’t help but wrap up this week with a little re-post of this incredibly inspiring and fun initiative coming of Amsterdam.

When you spend  a lot of your life in the country it’s easy to forget about all the cool things that people in cities get up to. And this here is great example of communities, professionals, artists, and academics coming together to solve a unique challenge together.

Alors,

From the blog:

Supernatural is an exhibition and community project developed by Pink Pony Express which worked with a muslim community in Amsterdam to convert leftover bread into cooking gas.

Kolenkit is a majority Muslim district in western Amsterdam with a large amount of waste bread. According to the Koran, bread is not allowed to be thrown away and must be given back the the earth, which has developed a problem with pests. Specialty bins were provided by the municipality to collect and dispose of unwanted bread in a manner that is compatible with Muslim teachings.

Per week there are about 200 loaves of bread thrown away by Muslim families in the Kolenkit. This could generate approximately 60,000 liters of biogas, One stovetop burner set on high uses approximately 1000 liters of biogas per hour. Thus, the bread from the Kolenkit could keep a stove top burning for 60 hours per week. – cyclifier.org

Well, you get the general sense of things. Head on over to their sites, blogs and what not to get more info.

Now we’re all thinking of different ways we can make biogas on the farm… it’d be a great addition to the composting toilet.

Some nice news to digest 🙂


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living art in Pennsylvania

"Brushes, Planets, Misfits and Other Collections" 2014 by Jeffrey Jenkins

“Brushes, Planets, Misfits and Other Collections” 2014 by Jeffrey Jenkins

Here’s something for all you artists, makers, communitarians, diggers (re:archaelogists) and generally strange people: Midlred’s Lane.

Residing on a site named for the homesteader that inhabited the space in the 20th century, a collection of individuals are experimenting with different ways of living/being/working/art making/formulating simply complex sentences. Continue reading