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Open Source Ecology: Mid-Missouri


The goal of Open Source Ecology: Mid-Missouri is to foster the opportunities for applied learning towards creating a sustainable society. In particular, we focus on learning from the history of human organization in order to apply proven principles of successful human organization towards creating a prosperous and free society in the modern age. We will study and distill the learnings from history, and - in partnership with OSE - will have an opportunity to test our learnings by hands-on building of the prototype for a sustainable Global Village. This means a land-based implementation at Factor e Farm - consisting of the built environment with off-grid infrastructure, communications infrastructure, and productivity infrastructure for utilizing local resources for a modern, advanced appropriate technology settlement. The scale of this is going to be a micro-village - perhaps a few key building and surrounding landscape - a one acre or so micro-village that aims to demonstrate the functioning of society on a small scale, using optimized techniques for survival and prosperity.

We will divide this task into several categories:

  1. Built environment
  2. Productivity infrastructure
    1. Permaculture
    2. Permafacture
  3. Education
  4. Governance
  5. Communication and trade
  6. Other

Primary Tasks

1. Establish regular meeting times, places (7:00 thursday, 106 gwynn?)

2. CEC subcomittee

3. Plan events

   1. Educational speaking events
   2. Workshops

4. Coordinate visits

5. Build a base of offsite collaboration options:

 1. Public Image
   a. Brochures
   b. Webwork
   c. Whitepapers
 2. Networking/advocating
   a. Open Source Research
   b. Open Design
   c. Collaboration on GVCS on and off site
 3. Project Planning
   a. Permaculture plantout
   b. BAV 09
   c. OSE MidMO workshop
 4. Better Factor E > OSE MidMO communication channels
   a. Skype
   b. ...

For more information on the Student Group Process, refer to: Mizzou Student ORG


Possible Goals that can be accomplished by establishing OSE Columbia.  The IAC has offered an unused office from which to operate. NOTE: This will eventually be narrowed down into viable, necessary goals with a concise schedule and action plan.

Internship Opportunities

  1. Establish Internship/ Study opportunities at the Factor E Farm facility through the University and MU Extension
    1. In particular, develop a research/implementation program for building sustainable communities
    2. Student research may be used to obtain credit
    3. Factor e Farm will serve as a collaboratory for implementing ideas in practice

Funding Operations

  1. Seek, Plan and Implement funding operations for OSE

Community/Student Outreach, Education

  1. Workshops
  2. Presentations
  3. Films/Discussions
  4. Tabling

Offsite Collaboration with Factor E Farm

Establish a list of tasks that can be accomplished by those who cannot afford the time or money to visit the farm and collaborate with OSE

OSE web and print development

  1. Volunteer Information Packet
  2. Volunteer Scheduling program
  3. Potential Donor Information Packet

OSE networking

  1. Network within the university (MU Extension, Down Profs, student and faculty groups, admin)
  2. Network within Columbia (Community Leaders, Volunteers, etc.)
  3. Network within the Mid Missouri Bioregion


Richard Schulte- President, Treasurer (MU official)

Kat Erdel

Kevin Boyd

Nick Totten

Danny Schell

Proposed Student Projects

Build A Village '08 Project

To coordinate a project in which the building infrastructure at Factor E Farm will be substantially updated so as to host interns and researchers as well as non-specialized collaborators. We will organise weekend trips to the land based facility and build with the CEB press so that they can support as many as 12 people in their collaboratory. The goal is to build a village, utilizing local, sustainable resources, and to make an example that this can be done very reasonably and that it can radically alter the way people realize sustainable lifestyles. Among the technologies that will be implemented in the buildings are solar water heaters and rainwater catchment, radiant floor heating, babington burners, humanure toilets, passive solar design and hardware coming from an off-grid fabrication facility. More can be found out at the Build A Village '08 Project page.

BAV Tasks: 

CEB Building Technique Research

Solar PV Project and Electrical InfrastructureSolar PV Project and Electrical Infrastructure

Babington Burner [1]

Water Filtration

Solar Water Heater

Sawmill (PTO attachment)

Real Sustainable Bio Diesel Production


Research Topics

Open Source Permaculture

What is open source permaculture? It is permaculture with a focus on replicability. By replicability, we mean particularly the ability to propagate plants to the extent that productive plantings may be implemented at very low cost. The application is, so to say, advanced foraging, or low-input edible landscape - which if combined with appropriate technology equipment - can provide for a large percentage of the surrounding population's diet. The application extends to other uses - such as biofuels and other useful products.

The goal is to document the plants and practices suitable for Community Supported Permaculture in the Mid-Missouri and continental climate. The focus should be twofold: (1) To document adapted species and practices; (2) to produce propagation documentation. The approach should be one of action learning: not picking stuff from books, but documenting examples with pictures and video. In particular, propagation how-to's are perhaps the most essential feature. The reason is - if one wants to engage in permaculture, one needs to have access to a wide variety of plant material. How does one gain this access in the most replicable fashion? By knowing propagation techniques - seeds, grafting, cuttings, layering, etc.

One way to implement this project is to have for-credit internships - in agriculture, journalism, rural sociology, peace studies, agricultural technology, or even engineering if it comes to appropriate technology equipment related to open source permaculture.

One immediate practical approach is to have students go on field trips to document various types of plants and how they are propagated - by taking instructional videos or pictures related to place-based, explicit examples of plants that combine to form an encyclopedic referency. I know of no database that provides propagation video at present.

A second, more theoretical approach is to collect and organize existing videos (YouTube, others) related to plant propagation/processing/use of various plants - focusing on sustainable agriculture and sustainable society.

Open Source Permafacture

One immediate application is fundraising for and building a small scale flexible and digital fabrication facility in Columbia - at a cost of approximately $5k for RepRap, CNC Multimachine, XYZ table, Micro XYZ table for circuit fabrication, and metal casting. This could produce just about any electromechanical device - from a heavy hoe, car, tractor, ceb press, to a wireless receiver or electric motor.

Students in the engineering field can use the equipment as hands-on projects in digital fabrication. Other students, with proper training, can learn to build just about anything - by using downloadable designs that are turned into reality with the help of a computer. The possibilities are astounding.

To be continued...

Applied Permaculture Projects at Factor e Farm

Factor e Farm is dedicated as a field experiment for demonstrating the propagation, culture, and development of useful native plants. We welcome applied student projects related to open source permaculture.

University Internship, Research, and Independent Study Point Contacts

  • Professor Sandy Rikoon, Ph.D. - was interested in passing forward internship opportunities. He's head of the Sustainable Agriculture major. U. Missouri, Columbia, is the first land grant university in the United States that has a Sustainable Agriculture major
  • Professor John Galliher, Ph.D. of Peace Studies said that his students could do internships or directed study any time of the year - for credit - so he needs to see our internship proposals. Many research topics can fall under peace studies.
  • Professor Mary Grigsby - Professional Master's program in Rural Sociology said that Master's students can do applied internships at Factor e Farm. This would be a great application for Open Source Permaculture and Sustainable Food Systems
  • Professor Yuyi Lin, Ph.D., PE - Capstone Seminar advisor in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering - can direct students to OSE projects for their Capstone. Will be collaborating with us on Biomass to Fuel technologies based on the Personal Gasifier.
  • Professor Amit Prasad, PH.D. - Sociology Professor who has become our faculty advisor and is interested in helping OSE Mid MO to help get off the ground with grants and foundational funding.