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Open Source Ecology
Formation2003; 21 years ago (2003)
HeadquartersFactor e Farm
Region served
Marcin Jakubowski
Open Source Ecology: Practical post scarcity
The 50 machines that compose the Global Village Construction Set

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 types of 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 test them on the Factor e Farm in rural Missouri.[4][5][6] 3D-Print.com reports[7] that OSE has been experimenting with RepRap 3-D printers, as suggested by academics for sustainable development.[8]


Marcin Jakubowski founded the group in 2003.[9] In the final year of his doctoral thesis at the University of Wisconsin, he felt that his work 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] Soon, 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).

Open Source Ecology is also developing in Europe as OSE Germany.[11] This is an independent effort based on OSE's principles.

In 2016, OSE and the Open Building Institute[12] joined forces to make affordable, ecological housing widely accessible. The initiative has prototyped the Seed Eco-Home[13] – 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 applied to rapid swarm builds of large structures. Materials for the Seed Eco-Home cost around US$30,000 in 2016, though the cost went up to approximately US$50,000 in 2022 due to rising lumber prices [citation needed]. 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 headquarters where the machines are prototyped and tested. The farm also serves as a prototype. Using the Open Source Ecology principles, Four prototype modules have been built as a home. An added greenhouse demonstrates how a family can grow vegetables and fish. Outside, there is also a large garden including fruit trees.[14]

Current progress

For 2020, OSE was planning its most ambitious collaborative design effort by hosting an Incentive Challenge on the HeroX platform – to produce a professional grade, open source, 3D printed cordless drill that can be manufactured in distributed locations around the world. This project is intended to provide a proof-of-concept for the efficiency of open source development applied to hardware – in addition to its proven success with software. This effort was postponed due to COVID-19, and OSE has pivoted to a product release of the Seed Eco-Home in 2021 to address the need for affordable, ecological housing.[15]

In 2019, OSE updated its vision to collaborative design for a transparent and inclusive economy of abundance.[16] This reflects a shift from open source to open source and collaborative design. OSE began running its Open Source Microfactory STEAM Camps to emphasize the vision of collaborative design of real products.

In 2018, the project achieved 33% completion.

In 2014, 12 of the 50 machines were designed, blueprinted, and prototyped, with four of those reaching the documentation stage.[17][18]

In October 2011 a Kickstarter fundraising campaign collected US$63,573 for project expenses and the construction of a training facility.[19] The project has been funded by the Shuttleworth Foundation[20] and is a semifinalist in the Focus Forward Film Festival.[21]

Awards and recognition

List of machines

The Global Village Construction Set (GVCS) comprises 50 industrial machines:[25][26]

Category Global 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

The first time a Global Village Construction Set product was created by another group was in October 2011; Jason Smith with James Slade and his organization Creation Flame[27] developed a functioning open source CEB press.[28]

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. Archived from the original on November 3, 2012.
  7. ^ "Village in a Box: Open Source Ecology Project Uses 3D Printers to Build the Next Economy". 24 July 2014.
  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: 4-18-2023.
  11. ^ "OSE Germany". Opensourceecology.de. Retrieved 2020-10-18.
  12. ^ "Open Building Institute". Openbuildinginstitute.org. Retrieved 2020-10-18.
  13. ^ "Seedu Eco-Home". Opensourceecology.org. Retrieved 2020-10-18.
  14. ^ Factor e Farm Information Accessed 7-31-2011.
  15. ^ Blog post announcing the Seed Eco-Home, Accessed: 2022-02-28
  16. ^ "OSE Vision". Opensourceecology.org. 2019-05-08. Retrieved 2020-10-18.
  17. ^ Status Brief, Accessed: 2016-02-14
  18. ^ GVCS Prototype Status, Accessed: 2016-02-14
  19. ^ "Fundraising". Kickstarter.com. 2011-10-10. Retrieved 2013-02-07.
  20. ^ "Marcin Jakubowski". Shuttleworthfoundation.org. March 2012. Retrieved 2013-02-07.
  21. ^ "Build yourself. – Tristan Copley Smith". Vimeo.com. 2012-10-19. Retrieved 2013-02-07.
  22. ^ "Open Source Ecology: Interview with Founder Marcin Jakubowski". makezine.com. 2012-02-24. Archived from the original on 2011-12-11. Retrieved 2013-02-07.
  23. ^ The 2011 Buckminster Fuller Challenge Semi-Finalists | The Buckminster Fuller Challenge Archived February 29, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ "Tech Best Inventions 2012". TIME.com. 2012-11-01. Archived from the original on 2012-11-11.
  25. ^ "GVCS". Open Source Ecology. Retrieved 2013-02-07.
  26. ^ "Global Village Construction Set". Open Source Ecology. Retrieved 2013-02-07.
  27. ^ "Creation Flame Main Page". Archived from the original on 2016-12-07. Retrieved 2011-11-22.
  28. ^ Creation Flame progress Archived 2012-02-16 at archive.today Accessed: 11/22/2011