Just Tools for Life Revisited

Time is a marvelous means for putting things into perspective. Your most embarrassing moment as a seven-year-old becomes the funniest story of the evening twenty years later. And likewise, those hilarious jokes at two in the morning, produce puzzled looks by noon the next day.

And while “Just Tools for Life” didn’t fall flat on its face immediately, it has slowly fallen out of favor. Primarily, the problem lies in the word “just”. Besides the nice justice connotation, it also heavily bears the meaning “only”.

This works well for the “Just Apples” brand of applesauce that uses organic (justice implication) apples and no additives (only apples).

However, for Open Source Ecology at Factor E Farm, “just” is too limiting. We are in no sense only about tools.

Take a glimpse of the life at Factor E Farm: Cook up breakfast (eggs and bread) for the ducklings. Don’t forget to add the eggshells for calcium. Mix up a quick bread to cook on the wood stove before the fire dies down. And feed the goats and chickens. Meanwhile, Marcin is drawing out an Open Source Tractor. But not for too long because he needs to find pipe for the well rig. We want to drill down another 30 feet and we’re determined to find it locally. (Rockmaster, the drill rig company, is not known for expedient shipping). And when the chores are done and breakfast has been eaten, one of many tasks lies ahead. Today it was fixing the busted water pipes; Yesterday we gave the grain bin a face lift; Tomorrow back to digging the well; and soon thereafter comes biodiesel. In the spare moments we find room to plant garden veggies and propagate nursery crops. Not to mention the solar cells arrived a day ago … we’ll need to make a panel for mounting them before we can use them. Marcin talks to people about design details; and Brittany, don’t forget to blog about it!

So, if we’re not just tools, who are we?

A little bit of everything and not just anything!


  1. Sepp

    Hi Brittany,

    “Optimizing essential tools and technologies within the public domain for sustainable and just living.”

    That is where you originally came from, and

    “Just tools for life” was the next step.

    What about “Open Source Tools for Life” or “Open Source Life Tech”?



  2. Josef Davies-Coates

    I quite liked Just Tools for Life 🙂

    To me, “Tools for Life” is obviously lots of things and not “just” tools.

    I like Open Source Engineering more than Open Source Ecology. Although I think its fair to say that Open Source Ecology does describe what you’re all about, Open Source Engineering focusses in on what I think most people find exciting about the project: Open Source Machines! 😛

    (but Engineering sounds better than Machines and is broader)

    I also quite like the Global Village Construction Kit phrase, although I think it’d actually be better as just Village Construction Kit.

    How to tie-in Commons-based Peer Production/ Peer Economy?

    Hmz, how about:

    Open Source Engineering
    The Ecovillage Construction Kit Co-op


    Open Village Construction Kit

    Ecovillage Construction Kit

    Village Construction Kit

    Open Source Village Construction Kit

    Hmz, but really I think its the peer production and enterprise opportunities as well as the machines/ tools that make it exciting…