Factor EFarm
Franz Nahrada, June 12, 2009, GlobalVillages

Marcin Jakubowski has posted a short video towards the end of the following blog post that shows me discussing strategic support opportunities for Open Source Ecology. ("May 22nd: A Friday and finally a little day of rest. But we worked a lot on strategy. Here’s a planning session:")

please have a look!

So here I am - talking about OSE strategy without ever having been there and having laid my hands on the ground there. Thank you Marcin for that much trust and cooperation.

I really think we enter a period of densification and intensive cross-linking between various projects. I would like to consider FactorEFarm the flagship project for the Global Village community even though I am not blind to some shortcomings. I talked to many people and they find and constantly bring up some points that are easy to critisize. But I want to make clear: I also see these points and they all can be dealt with and are IMHO of minor importance.

  • the site itself seems not really being locally embedded in regional
development initiatives, but rather a "spaceship from Mars" for the surrounding population. The same occured to me in Tamera 10 years ago when I stayed at a neighboring farmhouse with a very benevolent Portuguese lady who spoke perfect German (because she was the widow of a German diplomat). She was helpful im mediating, but still I saw the community through the "lenses of outsiders" and I saw how much damage too much cultural isolation can do to a village building effort and how many opportunities are missed that way. We must consider the local and the regional as equally important as the global, in fact the global activates the local and regional potential. It makes us refocus on our neighbors because we bring in a lot of interesting stuff for them - and they might do the same for us. I think that the moving in of Inga and maybe others should lead to intensification of local co-operation.

  • the overall OSE project is radically geared towards local autonomy -
something which sometimes seemingly cuts deeply into efficiency and especially life quality. I think that in many respects the Factor e Farm zeal, the backbreaking heroism of labor, the choice of the hard bottom-up approach, is more a symbolic statement- and the end result will differ a lot. In the end, we might have regional cooperatives, sophisticated regional division of labor and a size of operations that might still be comparable to small factories; especially when it comes to metal parts, standard parts of all kinds, modules of the toolkit etc. But the statement "we can do it ourselves" is an important antidote to todays absolutely distorted system of technology and competences. A friend of mine with whom I had many - sometimes also very cointroversial - discussions, Peter Weibel, has put it into the words "we are all disabled". Peter never made entirely clear if he meant that positively or negatively, because he was celebrating sensual extensions and technological crutches for everything with the same vigor which he used against Microsoft and the "enslavement through technology". But that is a very good bottomline. We are all disabled and our goal should be to redo the whole technical system in a way that eliminates our disabilities. We should understand technology from the bottom up, understand the patterns behind the patterns and should not refuge automatically to crutches like in todays world where we constantly are dependent on malicious "dependence - reenforcing mechanisms". Most of us cannot escape this completely, Yet FactorEFarm stands as a firm statement against this - as a kind of counter pressure enabling us to negociate totally different relations with the ones that still control the production process today.

We cannot really figure out what is the treshold where this demonstration effort becomes unmanageable; I think that it is important to start with certain aspects of autarky, with the idea of partial autarky and self-reliance, but not with the idea of total self-sufficiency. This demonstration of aspectual autarky is important in itself and gives a strong message: we can build our own tractor. we can produce our own buidling materials. we can even build most of our own houses. So be aware you producers of technology: if you comply with users needs and strategies, you have a chance to team up with us. If not, you will face a fierce competition, one that might destroy your markets field by field. We are already showing you that we can build a life of our own; we are gladly inviting you to trade with us or even cooperate with us if you comply with our needs and have something useful to offer; but we are not any more taking garbage, because we have access to competence and tools to do it ourselves.

Marcin might not even agree with me on this big picture, but for me this picture is reason enough to rally support for him. Only with this vigorous liberation effort and its symbolic power will we be able to turn the tables and create the base for a non-destructive, well thought-of, efficient, modular and sustainable technology and regional economy. So what Marcin and his people are doing is about you and me alike.

So please make it part of your daily reflections how you can support OSE - today. Not only and maybe not even primarily with money; but with spreading the word, with participating in their design and documentation efforts, with finding new ways of chanelling energy there (see some ideas in the video), and foremost with the help for multiplication of OSE sites around the world.

Thank you.


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