4. Case Study: Farm Hack


Farm Hack is a community of farmers that build and modify their own machinery. The central node is its digital platform, where the productive community shares designs, know-how and ideas. Currently the platform features more than 500 pieces of machinery and the community has members from all over the world. The tools are made available under Creative Commons licences and may be accessed by everyone. A non-profit (for-benefit association) monitors, maintains and improves the platform according to the ethos and desires of the community.

At the same time, some of the most active inventors/farmers contributing to the platform invest a considerable amount of time and resources to prototype tools. The community enables them to engage into entrepreneurial activity (entrepreneurial coalitions) in order to continue enriching the community commons and sustain themselves in the process. The business model they adopt is up to them as long as the basic principle of openness is maintained. They may manufacture and sell the tools or components of them. They may sell partially assembled kits or simply conduct workshops to teach other farmers to build their own tools. This ongoing process is challenging and is a major point of discussion within the community. Yet the creation of sustainable commercial activity benefiting from and at the same time empowering the community is clearly desired.