Sustainable Village Industry

“To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.” -Thomas Edison

It takes resources, tools and imagination to build a village. Tools help us transform resources into valuable goods. Informed imagination allows us to see possibilities, explore, tinker and create. In other words, well-equipped imagination enables us to be industrious.

From traditional tools such as chisels and mallets to larger equipment such as a farm tractor and electronic microcontrolled computers, we employ a diverse array of industrial technologies to help create our life and make the work easier.

Industrialization and the Village

Technology in Service of Community, Not Community in Service of Technology

Many people associate “industry” with environmental destruction, and the rise of the age of systemic pollution and environmental degradation. And, appropriately so. However, consider how much good a small degree of mechanization did for small-scale farmers in Europe with the advent of small-scale steam technology. Or the many benefits of simple, appropriate technologies in less industrialized communities.

Electronics, Data-Collection, and Automation

by Ruben

Micro electronics are a fascinating legacy of the 20th century. Even though today this technology makes up a sizable portion of the consumer waste stream, there are few things that are inherently unsustainable about the technology itself. The sustainable application of electronics is all a matter of design, and as you can imagine, we are not a big fan of planned obsolescence.

Being able to design and implement custom electronics is a real game changer for any community as it allows for the development of labor saving technologies, reducing human error through automation of complex systems, and to better understand our environment by sensing, storing, and analyzing essential environmental information.

We develop our own solutions based on open source hardware technologies, such as the Arduino and Raspberry Pi micro-computer platforms, and use linux based operating systems and open source software tools for the development and integration of our electronics projects.

Although the development of electronic systems has played an important role in the early history of Windward, this area has only recently received renewed focus.

An encouraging early result of that focus is a work-in-progress, the Ship’s Log project: an open source, environmental data collection system that makes use of existing IT network infrastructure to acquire, store, and distribute historical and real-time sensor data.

Tools to Fix the Tools

Beyond the tools and resources needed to build a self-reliant rural village, we are also bringing together the tools needed to repair and maintain the other tools.

We are only as self reliant as we are because we depend on tools to create valuable goods from the land. Because of this basic technological dependency, we need are bringing together a lot of additional tools and resources needed to make, maintain, and repair the tools we use.