Smaller farms have significantly different needs from larger ones, but the right tools aren’t always available to meet those needs — a perfect opportunity for an open source project to step in and fill the gap. Such farms are big enough to need powerful specialized tools, yet may not have the budget or space for large tractors. Bicitractor hacks its way around these issues, providing a green, silent, healthy alternative.
Bicitractor is an open source pedal-powered tractor suitable for small to medium-sized vegetable farms. Created by farmers for farmers, it performs a variety of agricultural tasks, working the soil to a maximum depth of 5 cm, which is popular with the no-till farming movement. It can be used for sowing, weeding, hoeing, harvesting open lines, and carrying loads, among other applications.
Traditional tractors are expensive and consume lots of fossil fuel energy. Bicitractor can be built and maintained affordably by anyone (with the right tools and training) and needs no gasoline, saving money upfront and in the long run. With its low cost, this DIY solution helps farmers stay out of debt and increases their self-reliance.
Do you know a farm that could use a Bicitractor? Check out the early beta model: the Bicitractor B300 on Instructables! The Instructable features a sneak peek at the project’s ongoing evolution. The next prototype, the B310, will incorporate a few bug fixes, more gears, and electrical assist. Bicitractor’s creators, the Farming Soul collective, encourage us to wait for this next version before attempting to build one. But for anyone willing to weigh in on the next design, this is your chance.
Farming Soul will soon be offering workshops for farmers who want to build their own Bicitractors.
This is one of the many cool projects to come out of the POC21 conference where 100 eco-hackers gathered in a French castle to brainstorm ways to improve the world.