1000 Squared Marketing Plan
Text: a quick introduction (draft .5)
With your help and the collaboration of open source developers around the world, we are going to make the Global Village Construction Set, a set of ABOUT 40 existing technologies we will refine into simple, easily replicated designs that will provide a basis for a local economy of integrated agriculture and manufacturing using local resources in zero-waste cycles. With the Global Village Construction Set in hand, people can survive and thrive with a high quality of life that is not dependent on global supply chains, human exploitation, and environmental degradation. Our aim is to have the whole Construction Set ready in two years as a completely opens source, self replicating package, so you can build it yourself.
The key is our fabrication lab, where we will be able to cast and machine metal, Print 3D plastic objects, etch circuits, and construct high-quality equipment whose performance is competitive with commercial products, at dramatic cost savings. The fabrication lab will not just be a world-class micro-factory churning out almost anything imaginable, BUT it will be completely self-replicating. Fully trained fabricators will be able to use the tools of the fabrication lab to re-build the entire lab at the cost of materials. Think of this as a mini China on your desktop.
Designing a shop from the ground up to be self replicating is not a radical concept. Self replicating tools may sound fantastic, but it is only in this current stage of industrial capitalism that the tools in a shop are not regularly used to replicate themselves. The oldest and most basic tool in a machine shop is a lathe, which can be used to make all the other tools (as well as itself). The lathe dates back to ancient Egypt, and a journeyman machinist's education has traditionally included the construction of his own machines in the shop of a master craftsman. Only since the late 20th century has this not been the case. If you are lucky enough to know an elderly machinist, ask after his education [my high school shop instructor, Mr. McAleer, was in his early 70's and a retired naval engineer. This is how he was trained]. Although the fabrication lab will introduce new materials, tools, and techniques, it will be a return to tradition, not a radical departure.
As I mentioned earlier, the Global Village Construction Set is not about generating new technologies, it is about refining existing ones, and the fabrication lab is based around existing projects, such as the Multimachine, a combination CNC (computer numerical control) lathe, drill press, and milling machine. For plastic we will have a RepRap, a reproducing rapid prototyping machine that can fabricate plastic parts from CAD drawings. We will add to this a plasma cutting table for large metal, a 300lb per hour metal casting foundry heated by our Babington burner, and a heavy lathe for turning large metal objects. To make thin film plastics for greenhouses, we will create an open source plastic extrusion and glazing machine. With this Fab Lab we can build from scratch, at the cost of materials, the whole lab, and any other technology in the Global Village Construction Set.
All of these technologies exist, but middlemen, R&D costs, company overhead, proprietary technique, and limited demand drive the cost of equipment way beyond the only necessary costs- materials and labor. Through online collaboration with a global pool of talent we can create easy to follow plans that eliminate all the extra costs.
(Add a statement on production model? The production model is community supported manufacturing, where people collaborate on funding a facility, such as ours, and we return the favor by producing at the cost of materials plus labor. This may be beyond the comprehension of many - so maybe leave it out? Note that the critique here is that most people don't want to produce themselves, so production for these people has to be addressed)
Our design technique is not radical, but it is under used. Most industries suffer from designs rooted in history rather than necessity. The Multimachine project has now reached a fairly mature design that condenses three machines into one by starting with the basic observation: in all machining either the tool or the table rotates. Most machine shops have a separate lathe, drill press, and milling machine because these tools were added into machine shops sequentially, and therefore machine shop culture treated them as separate objects, even though their functions are easily combined.
(Maybe eliminate this last paragraph if we're tight on space)
Our design technique works like this: we look at what we need to do, and the tasks that need to be performed to do it. Then we crib the essential functions off existing machines and combine them when possible into simpler, more easily maintained devices.
So what technologies do we have? Right now we the LifeTrac, a combination tractor and skid loader that achieves a 10x reduction in price over commercial equipment because it is designed for lifetime use, not one time sale, and for easy maintenance, not planned obsolescence.
The same design strategy has been applied to a CEB Press, which pumps out high quality compressed earth bricks, and is being applied to a sawmill. Together, these three machines allow the construction of comfortable, well insulated buildings using entirely local materials. And we are well on our way to developing a Solar steam array, a small steam engine, and a biomass burner for easy, flex fuel power generation.
Our quick pace of development is sustained by the strength of online collaboration and open plans. We believe that open source development is dramatically superior to traditional methods, and not just in software. Open Source is already proving itself in commercial computer hardware world with products like the Arduino (MORE) Instead of working in obscurity, our plans receive the feedback of experts and interested amateurs as they happen. As a result we make fewer mistakes, and recover quickly from the ones we do make.
But openness is more than just a process for us, we believe in openness as an ideology of transformation. Imagine the knowledge necessary for sustaining advanced civilization available to everyone, not just a limited technical elite. We see open source as a solution to environmental degradation and warfare- an Open Source Ecology integrating computers, communications, energy production, fabrication, and food production will lead to greater self sufficiency and improved quality of life in resilient communities
This vision inspires us, but you don't need to take our word for it. In the near term, our success will not be measured in our abundance of intangibles such as happiness and self-worth. We are making real products that will compete in the marketplace, and we will capture market share because our products are a good value. Our project is not just a dream, it is a practical plan for an alternative economic model that can and will compete.
To demonstrate and develop this new system, we are scaling up. On site we expect to have 20-30 people by the end of the year, fed by our farm. While our methods will be open, our resource cycles will be closed. Organic matter and nutrients will be in complete cycles, enriching our soil rather than mining it. This means integrating wild animals, traditional animal husbandry, perennial crops, tree crops, and raised bed gardening. While documenting our progress, we will also be building a gene bank of regionally appropriate plants, animals, and fungi.
Factor e Farm is already quite productive [NEED CROP LIST/HARVEST LAST YEAR] and we are busy planting a permaculture forest garden, where the trees and bushes produce nuts, berries, tubers, and other edibles, as well as forage for our animals, all in a self-sustaining forest ecology.
(Not yet. The only abundance right now is raspberries and asparagus. All other crops are too young - such as about 4 acres of orchard and nut trees. We did the standard tomato, pepper, watermelon, garlic, onion, sweet potato, sweet corn, honeybees, etc. But the reality was that our soil is so depleted from the industrial farming that we need to do major work to get our harvests to be bountiful. We aim to address this this year by intensive berming, swaling, manuring. We do, however, have a whole array of very interesting plants - cold temperature kiwi, chestnut, hazelnut, walnut, pecan, hickory, pawpaw, persimmon, and the standard fare of fruit trees, plus other berries such as aronia, currants, grapes, Nanking cherry, blueberry, Illionois everbearing mulberry, plus a number of rootstocks. We need to do some intensive chicken incubation this year - because many free range chickens die off from predators of all types.)
This summer we will conduct a combined agriculture/aquaculture experiment using fish, chickens, and artificial island raised vegetable beds in a system designed after the Mexico Basin Chinampa system. (NOTE: THESE DO NOT FLOAT LIKE HYDROPONICS. FROM WHAT I UNDERSTAND, THEY ARE GROUNDED, BUT LOOK LIKE THEY FLOAT BECAUSE THEY ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF WATER). Originally created to feed the 250,000 residents of Tenochtitlan (modern day Mexico City) Chinampa is one of the oldest integrative agriculture techniques in the world, and more advanced than similar systems in South East Asia and Indonesia [carp agriculture]. Fertile agricultural runoff (in our case from chickens) is directed into ponds, triggering algae blooms that feed fish, whose waste in turn feeds feeds lettuce and other vegetables grown in beds Surrounded by water. Waste from the vegetable garden is then fed to worms, who are then fed to chickens. In this way we can intensively cultivate a protein-rich diet in a small space, enriching the soil while producing food for sale. (TRUE, BUT TO SUSTAIN A CHICKEN FLOCK FOR 30 PEOPLE, WE NEED MORE FEEDSTOCK FOR WORMS - WHERE IF WE CAN ATTRACT BAT COLONIES, THEY COULD PROVIDE AMPLE BAT GUANO.)
When whole systems are put together, their efficiency is astounding. What was once waste is suddenly a resource. Too often in our current economy, we make decisions in isolation of any greater system. The Global Village Construction Set is a fundamental break from atomized thinking. We need not make sacrifices in quality of life to move beyond our destructive industrial system, all we need is full integration, closing resource loops and ending waste. We can make local economies work, but it will take global cooperation. Please join us- review our plans, make comments, become a True Fan, pick some vegetables, or help us build. With all our hands and all our brains, we can re-make the world.