agriculture

Bicitractor: the open source agricultural bicycle-tractor

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Here is a beautiful project "BICITRACTOR" developed by Farmingsoul which pulls the future of "market gardening" agriculture in a sustainable sense in the heart of the new open models (business models of the open economy that opens up to the Common Goods) and a true sharing economy which, I hope, will create another value far from the Uber-type collaborative economy!
  
One of the actors of the project, Mathieu Grosche, is a "sensitive" designer-explorer; he develops ethical projects. "prospective now"  that will muscle up your empathy brain. Interview.
 
Maryline Passini: What is the Bicitractor?
 
Mathieu Groshe The Bicitractor is a pedal-powered agricultural tractor with electric assistance. It is designed for small and medium sized vegetable farms. It allows to carry out different agricultural tasks that require a maximum working depth in the soil of 5 cm. It can be used, for example, for sowing, weeding, hoeing, weeding, opening furrows, harvesting, transporting loads,...
 
Compared to a traditional tractor, it provides the farmer with comfort of use by eliminating the nuisances caused by an internal combustion engine such as engine noise, the smell of exhaust gases, vibrations, etc...
The Bicitractor is a tool that allows farmers on medium-sized farms to mechanically perform tasks that are difficult to perform by hand and can cause physical pain.
In addition to being a tractor that does not emit carbon dioxide because it does not use fossil fuels, the Bicitractor is an open source vehicle. That is to say that these manufacturing plans are available to everyone free of charge and so everyone is able to make an efficient, non-polluting and easy to manufacture working tool for an expense of less than 2000 euros.
 
MP: How was the project born?
 
MG It all started in Chiapas, a region of Mexico where we started to learn how to develop bicycle machines in collaboration with the workshop El Machete, Casa Feliz, Cacita Oaxaca, etc. Bicycle machines are machines that run by pedaling instead of electricity, for example washing machines, kitchen mixers, corn huskers, or water pumps.
 
MP: Why in Chiapas?
 
MG It is a region that wishes to become autonomous from the Mexican government. Energy being a means of pressure often used by the government to calm popular uprisings. Energy independence is therefore a necessity in order to be able to live without being disturbed by the voluntary power cuts orchestrated by the Mexican government during popular protests.
Apart from these political reasons, bicycle machines are also developed with the aim of making manual work easier, to have cheaper machines available than electric ones, and to make daily life easier for people living in regions without electricity.
After developing several types of bicycle machines in Chiapas, friends of SolidarityFarm in San Diego, California, asked us to make a pedal-powered farm tractor with them. This is where the first prototype of the Bictractor was born, made with salvaged materials for a total amount of 50 Dollars.
Subsequently, a farmer in the South of France who wanted to buy a Bicitractor also asked us to design a copy with him. Having learned about the problems perceived on the two previous prototypes, we are currently making a third one within the POC21 sustainable and open source innovation camp. POC21 is an innovators' residence that brings together 100 "makers" from around the world to prototype a zero-carbon, zero-waste society. 
 
MP: What are the issues related to the Bicitractor?
 
MG: The idea behind this bike tractor is to avoid the debt of farmers who have to invest in expensive equipment that is difficult to repay, especially when the farms are small and medium-sized.
Moreover, it is a question of putting the means of production in the hands of farmers and more generally of the users who are in the best position to define their needs. This is not a product created in offices far from the context of their use, but rather a product coming from the user himself. A tractor made by farmers for farmers.
Our way of operating is based on the principle of appropriate technologies, so it is not a question of inventing a tractor that we will later sell to farmers, but of inventing a tractor for which we will then offer training workshops to interested farmers so that they can build their own tractor with our help.
 
These workshops will take place partly through the self-construction organization "atelier paysans". We are making a break with a classical and hierarchical economic system, by choosing not to invent a product to sell it but to invent a product to then sell the know-how that will allow the user to make this product during training. Without forgetting that the plans of the Bicitractor will be freely accessible by everyone on the internet.
 
Welcome to the economy of sharing!
 
Maryline Passini, Founder and director of the foresight agency Proâme
 
 
Photo credit @Farming Soul
 
 

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