A man with a doctorate in nuclear fusion physics builds a compound on 30 acres near Maysville, Mo. in an attempt to create a self-sufficient community where people can grow their own food and build their own tools:
“For a few years, Jakubowski lived mostly alone. First, he built the hut. That backbreaking work persuaded him to build a brick press. Next, he constructed a workshop to make more tools, including the tractor. He posted videos on the Web and gained a following of DIYers. Now and again, a couple people would show up during the summer to help out, and they made huts alongside Jakubowski’s. That changed in early 2011, when he was invited to give a lecture at a TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) conference.
“In his TED Talk, Jakubowski took the stage in a khaki Mao suit and explained how he planted 100 trees in one day, pressed 500 bricks “from the dirt beneath my feet,” also in one day, and built a tractor in six. ‘If we can lower the barriers to farming, building, manufacturing,’ he said calmly, ‘then we can unleash just massive amounts of human potential.’ The goal, he said, is to create on one freely downloadable DVD a ‘civilization starter kit.’ He ended the talk and received TED’s customary rapturous applause.
“Since Jakubowski’s TED Talk was posted to YouTube in April 2011, it’s been viewed by more than 1 million people, around 500 of whom agreed to donate $10 or so a month to ‘subscribe’ to the farm. The foundation of Mark Shuttleworth, a billionaire South African technology entrepreneur, gave Jakubowski $360,000 to pursue the work. The TED video even inspired a handful of hardy idealists to make a pilgrimage to Missouri and help out on the Factor e Farm. Then a few more showed up, some staying a week or two, some for months. By August 2012, there were 14 to 20 people staying on the farm at any one time, though it looked less like a farm than an unhygienic encampment for overeducated misfits.”