Open Source Ecology

Open Source Ecology (OSE) is a network of farmers, engineers, architects and supporters, whose main goal is the eventual manufacturing of the Global Village Construction Set (GVCS). As described by Open Source Ecology "the GVCS is an open technological platform that allows for the easy fabrication of the 50 different Industrial Machines that it takes to build a small civilization with modern comforts."[3] Groups in Oberlin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and California are developing blueprints, and building prototypes in order to pass them on to Missouri.[4][5][6] The devices are built and tested on the Factor e Farm in rural Missouri. Recently, 3D-Print reports[7] OSE has been experimenting with RepRap 3-D printers as suggested by academics for sustainable development.[8]

Open Source Ecology
Formation2003 (2003)
HeadquartersFactor e Farm
  • Maysville, Missouri, USA.[1][2]
Region served
Marcin Jakubowski
$4,000 monthly


Marcin Jakubowski Ph.D. founded the group in 2003.[9] In the final year of his doctoral thesis at the University of Wisconsin, he had the feeling that his career field was too closed off from the world's problems, and he wanted to go a different way. After graduation, he devoted himself entirely to OSE.

OSE made it to the world stage in 2011 when Jakubowski presented his Global Village Construction Set TED Talk.[10] Shortly after, the GVCS won Make magazine's Green Project Contest. The Internet blogs Gizmodo and Grist produced detailed features on OSE. Jakubowski has since become a Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow (2012) and TED Senior Fellow (2012).

In December 2013, Marcin married Catarina Mota. She co-chaired the Open Hardware Summit 2012, served on the board of directors of the Open Source Hardware Association, taught as an adjunct faculty member at ITP-NYU, and was a fellow of the National Science and Technology Foundation of Portugal.

Catarina finished her PhD dissertation on the social impact of open and collaborative practices for the development of physical goods and technologies. She was a visiting scholar at ITP-NYU, Research Chair at the Open Source Hardware Association, TED Fellow, and member of NYC Resistor.

Open Source Ecology is also developing in Europe as OSE Europe.[11]

In 2016, OSE and the Open Building Institute joined forces to make affordable, ecological housing widely accessible.[12] The initiative has prototyped the Seed Eco-Home – a 1400 square foot home with the help of 50 people in a 5-day period – demonstrating that OSE's Extreme Manufacturing techniques can be apply to rapid swarm builds of large structures. Materials for the Seed Eco-Home cost around US$30,000. Further, OBI has prototyped the Aquaponic Greenhouse – which was also built in 5 days with 50 people:

Factor e Farm

The Factor e Farm is the main headquarters, where the machines are prototyped and tested. The farm itself also serves as a prototype. Utilizing the Open Source Ecology principles, Marcin and Catarina have built four prototype modules which comprise their home. An added greenhouse demonstrates how a family can grow their own fresh vegetables and fish. Outside there is also a large garden including fruit trees.[13]

Current progress

As of 2014, twelve of the fifty machines have been designed, blueprinted, and prototyped, with four of those reaching the documentation stage.[14][15] On October 2011 a Kickstarter fundraising campaign collected US$63,573 for project expenses and the construction of a training facility.[16] The project has been funded by the Shuttleworth Foundation[17] and is a semifinalist in the Focus Forward Film Festival.[18]

Awards and recognition

  • In 2011, the project won the Green Project Contest organized by the Make magazine.[19]
  • It was also selected as one of the 21 semi-finalists for the Buckminster Fuller Challenge, among 162 participants.[20]
  • TIME rated OSE's Civilization Starter Kit as a top invention of the year 2012.[21]

List of machines

The Global Village Construction Set (GVCS) comprises 50 industrial machines:[22][23]

CategoryGlobal Village Construction Set (GVCS)

Compressed earth block press v4  · Concrete mixer  · Sawmill  · Bulldozer  · Backhoe


Tractor: LifeTrac v3  · Seeder  · Hay rake  · Microtractor  · Rototiller  · Spader  · Hay cutter  · Trencher  · Bakery oven  · Dairy milking machine  · Microcombine harvester  · Baler  · Well-drilling rig


Multimachine  · Ironworker  · Laser cutter  · Welder  · Plasma cutter  · Induction furnace  · CNC torch table  · Metal roller  · Wire and rod mill  · Press forge  · Universal rotor  · Drill press  · 3D printer  · 3D scanner  · CNC circuit mill  · Industrial robot  · Woodchipper / Hammermill


Power Cube: PowerCube v7  · Gasifier burner  · Solar concentrator  · Electric motor / generator  · Hydraulic motor  · Nickel–iron battery  · Steam engine  · Steam generator  · Wind turbine  · Pelletizer  · Universal power supply


Aluminium extractor  · Bioplastic extruder


Car  · Truck

GVCS replication

During October, 2011 the first successful duplication of a Global Village Construction Set product by a third-party group was completed. Jason Smith along with James Slade and his organization Creation Flame[24] developed a functioning open source CEB press.[25] A group in Baltimore, Maryland, and a group in Dallas, Texas have also begun production of GVCS machines.[26]

See also


  1. Factor e farm information Accessed: 7/28/2011.
  2. "Google Maps Factor e Farm location". Retrieved 2016-04-05.
  3. "Open Source Ecology", Accessed: 7-23-2011.
  4. Rohan Pearce (2011-12-14). "Can open source save the planet?". Techworld Australia.
  5. Leah Messinger (2011-03-23). "A Mad Scientist's 50 Tools for Sustainable Communities". The Atlantic.
  6. Ashlee Vance (2012-11-01). "The Post-Apocalypse Survival Machine Nerd Farm". Bloomberg Businessweek.
  8. J. M Pearce, C. Morris Blair, K. J. Laciak, R. Andrews, A. Nosrat and I. Zelenika-Zovko, "3-D Printing of Open Source Appropriate Technologies for Self-Directed Sustainable Development", Journal of Sustainable Development 3(4), pp. 17–29 (2010).
  9. "About" Archived 2011-07-17 at the Wayback Machine, Accessed: 7-19-2011.
  10. "Marcin Jakubowski: Open-sourced blueprints for civilization", April 2011. Accessed: 7-19-2011.
  11. "OSE Europe". Retrieved 2013-02-07.
  12. C. Priavolou, "The Emergence of Open Construction Systems: A Sustainable Paradigm in the Construction Sector?", Journal of Futures Studies 23(2), pp. 67-84 (2018).
  13. Factor e Farm Information Accessed 7-31-2011.
  14. Status Brief, Accessed: 2016-02-14
  15. GVCS Prototype Status, Accessed: 2016-02-14
  16. "Fundraising". 2011-10-10. Retrieved 2013-02-07.
  17. "Marcin Jakubowski". Retrieved 2013-02-07.
  18. "Build yourself. – Tristan Copley Smith". 2012-10-19. Retrieved 2013-02-07.
  19. "Open Source Ecology: Interview with Founder Marcin Jakubowski". 2012-02-24. Retrieved 2013-02-07.
  20. The 2011 Buckminster Fuller Challenge Semi-Finalists | The Buckminster Fuller Challenge Archived February 29, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  21. "Tech Best Inventions 2012". 2012-11-01. Archived from the original on 2012-11-11.
  22. "GVCS". Open Source Ecology. Retrieved 2013-02-07.
  23. "Global Village Construction Set". Open Source Ecology. Retrieved 2013-02-07.
  24. Creation Flame Main Page
  25. Creation Flame progress Archived 2012-02-16 at Accessed: 11/22/2011
  26. Other GVCS Replications Accessed: 11/22/2011
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