Farm Hacks

Low-cost, open-source, custom-built tools and techniques for farming, 2015 Lu Yoder (US) & Ash Watson (IRL)

Farm Hack is a worldwide community of farmers that build and modify their own tools through the long-standing farm traditions of tinkering, inventing, fabricating, tweaking, and improving things that break. It has evolved into an open-source community for farmer-driven design and collaborations. Two projects brought to life by the Farm Hack community are the Rootwasher, and the 3D Printed Seeder Roller.

Made partly from repurposed bicycle parts, rollerblade wheels, and an old exercycle, the Rootwasher cleans twenty kilograms of roots in under five minutes and does not require any electricity to operate. A five-acre vegetable farm harvests up to 250 kilograms of root crops per week, including radishes, carrots, turnips, potatoes, parsnips, and celeriac. Washing the roots by hand can take about three hours per 250 kilograms, and is very unpleasant in cold weather. The bicycle-powered Rootwasher provides the farmer with gentle exercise and helps makes washing roots fun.

Seeder rollers are plastic cogs that space out small seeds precisely whilst sowing. This saves a farmer from wasting seeds and time when planting. As part of FIELD TEST, Ash Watson from our MAKESHOP team has produced a new hack for Jang seeder rollers inspired by an existing Farm Hack user, jellenbogen. This new hack is an OpenSCAD script that lets the user define all of the characteristics they desire — like the seed well size, depth, shape, number and offset — to generate a 3D printable model that is a fraction of the price of a purchased seeder roller.

PROFILE

The Farm Hack community consists of farmers of all ages, but the project has special relevance to young and beginning farmers as a place to learn from their peers' and their elders' successes, mistakes, and new ideas. They also seek to bring their non-farmer allies on board: engineers, architects, designers, and the like. Together, with an open-source ethic, they believe they can retool farms for a sustainable future. These designs were submitted by Lu Yoder and Ash Watson.

The Open Ag Lab presents some of the cutting edge research being field tested on farms and is a space for visitors to get their hands dirty through learning.