Differences between Open Agriculture and Open Manufacturing

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Discussion

Paul Fernhout:

" there are two reasons why open manufacturing is different than open agriculture.

One difference is that open agriculture requires significant amounts of sunny land (with water and good soil). The history of the world in recent centuries includes all sorts of episodes of forcing individuals out of ancestral lands and either into cities or onto more marginal lands (and justifying it also by propaganda). Open manufacturing requires very little space so it can be done even in cities, and while it does require power, raw materials can often come from scrap.

Another difference is that agriculture takes some skill appropriate for the particular microclimate and soil etc. Much of that has been lost, and also the seeds that grow well in an area may be harder to get. A big part of open manufacturing is in a sense "deskilling" what now requires a lot of manual dexterity and wide-ranging knowledge, as well as providing computer-assisted training for what remains (web pages, wikis, community forums, meetups). And again, some of the manufacturing knowledge may be more generally applicable and easily discussed globally than local agricultural knowledge to some degree. We found that when we did our garden simulator -- my wife looked through dozens of gardening advice books and found many of them disagreed about many things -- some of it was no doubt superstition, but other things had to do with assumptions about climate and soils and local pests." (Open Manufacturing list, June 2009)