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There was a feature story in the New Yorker last December 2013 that I must have glossed over. My wife suggested that I go back to read it because she said, “That’s a ‘prepper story’.” It is about a guy named Marcin Jakubowski, a PhD farmer from Missouri who is the ultimate do-it-yourself kind of guy. No doubt he is a genius as he was a fusion scientist and engineer.

You must read the New Yorker story by Emily Eakin to appreciate Jakubowski and the details and nuances about his approach to life. Suffice it illustrates this by an example. He needed a new tractor and didn’t have the $40,000 for a new John Deere. I built his own instead for $6,000. He used assistance from the community who possessed needed skill and knowledge, and he employed his genius to solve the problem.

For this prepper writer, the Jakubowski story holds a plethora of lessons about self-sufficiency that begins with communities leveraging their geniuses and pooling their resources to solve problems for the sake of self-sufficiency and survival.

Self sufficiency need not be radical.

As one who keeps a diary of activities, Jakubowski records how to make things, and how to solve problems to keep the farm alive. There is a catchy term in the story: the Global Village Construction Set that is knowledge sharing.

The article talks briefly about how fellow fusion scientists in the academic world hold back their knowledge from one another as they seek to protect their grants and projects. That is the antithesis of sharing and problem-solving for the community good.

The article’s description of Jakubowski as a whole person provides an example of life in balance and with discipline, “Each morning, he completes two hours of yoga and meditation.”

This is a world-class story worth deep reading and study. You will have to get the keys to the locker to finish reading, or go to the library.

Listen to Marcin Jakubowski at YouTube,

"Marcin Jakubowski plans to change the world by producing a set of machines to create a sustainable society. We travel deep into rural Missouri to meet the man behind this utopian vision."


On a farm in Missouri, a radical experiment in self-sufficiency.
DECEMBER 23, 2013

Marcin Jakubowski, the owner of a small farm in northwestern Missouri, is an agrarian romantic for high-tech times. A forty-one-year-old Polish-American, he has spent the past five years building industrial machines from scratch, in a demonstration of radical self-sufficiency that he intends as a model for human society everywhere. He believes that freedom and prosperity lie within the reach of anyone willing to return to the land and make the tools necessary to erect civilization on top of it. His project, the Global Village Construction Set, has attracted a following, but among the obstacles he has faced is a dearth of skilled acolytes: the people who show up at his farm typically display more enthusiasm for his ideas than expertise with a lathe or a band saw.

Until quite recently, living at the farm, thirty weed-choked acres off a gravel road, has required forgoing amenities like bathrooms and kitchens and running water, and maintaining a stoic disregard for the weather, which can be brutally cold or brutally hot. The property, called Factor e Farm—a geek’s pun, e being the mathematical constant—has only intermittently produced food, and, apart from a small grocery in nearby Maysville (pop. 1,000), the closest supermarket is fifteen miles away. Such conditions are a matter of indifference for Jakubowski: he can subsist with equal pleasure on mugs of Serious Mass, a weight-gain supplement, or on the occasional rabbit.

He holds a Ph.D. in fusion physics, and has the kind of obsessive temperament often associated with scientists. His habitual attire is a pair of khakis and a blue button-down, which suits him just as well for digging up a buried sewage line on the farm as for giving a presentation in Washington, D.C. Tucked under one arm or in his backpack is, invariably, a ream of white paper bound with corrugated cardboard and a couple of industrial staples: his journal. Jakubowski has kept a diary since he was ten, and in thirty years has scarcely missed a day. He is currently on Volume 21; these days, the pages are filled not with accounts of his dreams but with mechanical drawings and pasted-in business cards. Each morning, he completes two hours of yoga and meditation, even if he must get up at 4 a.m. “He likes things to be scheduled,” his fiancée, Catarina Mota, a forty-year-old scholar of open-source technology, says. “I’ll say, ‘I want to go buy some bread.’ He’ll say, ‘What time?’ ” . .



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