Can small scale open source make a difference on the big scale?
Build your own tools
Green Tools Tech is run by Bruno Motik, permaculture designer and maker who develops solutions for regenerative farming, organic gardening and permaculture. Bruno is devoted to sustainable land practices and believes that regenerative agriculture is the most viable solution to climate change. He is a part of a growing movement of people who work to transform our agricultural system towards more small farms doing the right kind of agriculture.
They came to our cooperative with a limited budget and a wish to build a simple straight forward website with a webshop that would allow them to receive orders. This was a task for Wordpress, popular open source CMS system many people use to build their online presence. Although we mostly work on more complex custom coded projects, sometimes we also choose Wordpress as a tool, especially when it makes sense (link na wp-da-ne-možda). To make long story short, we created a website for Green Tools Tech and it's fullfilling it's purpose just fine.
What's more interesting for us with this project is GTT's approach to open source. Since they want to encourage technological sovereignty in the regenerative movement they decided to apply an open source model of research and development on their products. Simply put, they share their blueprints so people can make their own tools. A very noble and positive idea we will all agree and Slobodna domena fully supports it. That's a well known concept in software development, but it's allways nice to see that open source is spreading into the world of physical objects. While writting software, developers need tools and open source movement is full of resources. You take all kinds of smaller peaces, use them as tools and build a solution. That works. Even on enterprize level. But can it work in a different environment? Can open source work in agriculture?
Well, the answer in our opinion is yes and no. Having the option to build your own tools is allways great. But in order for the open source principle to take over a vertical like it happened in IT tech, it has to be competitive, it has to oppose it's antagonists and give advantages. Open sourcing an agriculture tool is that, so in that sense the answer is yes, that can work. Especially for organic gardeners looking for a solution to suit their needs GTT's open source design can be a solution. But that's not enough to transform the agriculture, not enough to go big scale. This will work in a niche. This will help enthusiasts. At the same time, big scale and industrial agriculture will have to transform in the political space.