Happy New Year!
Over the holidays, I got a chance to meet Juliet Schor (author of Plenitude) in New York City. Juliet teaches at Boston College, and she co-founded the Center for the New American Dream. She wrote about Factor e Farm in her recent book, Plenitude: The Economics of True Wealth. She recently got a McArthur Foundation grant to do a case study on Factor e Farm. What I love about Juliet is that her core message is a mouthpiece for the practical work of Factor e Farm. I feel like I am listening to myself speak when I listen to Juliet. Her core message is that we can improve the economic system far beyond its present morasse of inefficiency and artificial scarcity.
I also presented in Brooklyn to Devin’s Sarapis Foundation group, met great contacts there – such as the people from FLOFarm – another farm that explicitly endorses open source principles. We will collaborate on the open source sawmill – perhaps the first heavy duty project outside of Factor e Farm? The Brooklyn event pointed out that there are people connected to or seeking connection with the land everywhere. I was quite pleased to see the NYC-Pennsylvania connection that is being generated via FLOFarm – and I know that this is only the beginning of many meaningful urban-rural relations that will sprout up as agriculture is reinvented.
I met more great contacts after being stuck in New Jersey for a few extra days because of the massive, recent snowstorm. This included open source wind power contacts, Greenhorns (young farmer’s organization) leadership, and New Economics Institute leadership. As a result of the Greenhorns contact , we also got published in Grist Magazine (500k viewers/day) – see this quality article about us.
All in all, things are really positive. We are building the team for rapid parallel development of the Global Village Construction Set (GVCS) – which means a team of 100-200 subject matter experts and prototypers to do the technical development, and an organizational infrastructure to support the same. It’s coming together – through a combination of our track record, continuing outreach, and a pleasing number of new people joining the project from all over.
The next speaking event is in Cleveland and Oberlin College, Ohio, USA.
Personally speaking, as the year turns – I feel that I will no longer have to carry the weight of the project on my own shoulders. Instead, my role is shifting to inspiring others to the challenges and rewards of this ambitious mission – and a solid team is building. I feel great about this point – the 4 years of hard work at Factor e Farm are clearly showing results – mainly in that people understand the value and commitment of this effort, such that many people are now offering their help. So completion of the GVCS in 2 years with a $2.4M budget appears totally realistic at this point. The TED Fellowship will help greatly.
We have hit the 200 mark on the number of our True Fans subscriptions today. Thank you for all your support. If you are not a True Fan, please consider it. If you value this work and you want everyone to benefit from access to the GVCS, sign up as a True Fan with a monthly donation for 24 months. If you want more details on what we’re planning, see Proposal 2012, work in progress.