The Blog

Meet TED Fellow Marcin Jakubowski, Groundbreaking Farmer and Technologist

Marcin Jakubowski wants to decentralize technology so that all people can build their own high-quality, sustainable lifestyle
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

Meet Marcin Jakubowski. In 2003, Marcin founded Open Source Ecology (OSE) -- a movement dedicated to the collaborative development of tools for creating off-grid communities using open source tools, permaculture methods, and digital fabrication. The idea is to decentralize technology so that all people can build their own high-quality, sustainable lifestyle. Marcin has begun development on the Global Village Construction Set (GVCS) -- an open source tool set of 40 industrial machines necessary to create everything a community needs. OSE has prototyped eight machines and intends to build it all from scratch, from an induction furnace for melting metals to an open source combine. OSE is putting its theories into practice on Factor e Farm, north of Kansas City, Kansas.

Some questions for Marcin:

What are you currently working on?

We are launching our Compressed Earth Brick Press (CEB) and building a new flexible fabrication workshop with our Tractor, Soil Pulverizer, and CEB. Our work also involves blogging, updating our wiki with instructions, and traveling frequently for speaking events. This winter, we'll focus on strategies for developing the rest of the GVCS in a massively parallel collaborative fashion through crowd funding and stronger developer outreach.

What do you do for fun?

Part of the nature of the project is that I create my own world from scratch, an exhilarating pursuit. This entails living closely with the land and developing a built-in sense of recreation and freedom in my work, something I wish for adopters of our designs. The project has also brought together a rich community of collaborators from diverse disciplines, allowing for exciting cross-pollination and skill exchange.

Tell a surprising anecdote about yourself that few people know.

I once went to a physics professor to ask what item a certain long-wave equation was describing. He said, "Oh, it doesn't exist. I just made it up." This confirmed that my education was not really adding up to solving pressing world issues, and it was time for a mid-course correction.

Reminder: Submissions for the next round of TEDGlobal Fellows will close March 11. To apply or to recommend an extraordinary candidate, please visit