Gluesticks for Open Ag Tech - Zines thread

Today in the community call we chatted about zines and I wanted to pull those thoughts into their own thread –

  1. Agricultural Informatics Lab design methods zine created for GOAT 2022
    Has everyone seen this? Print it out & have it on hand for events! Send it to your friends!

  2. @lizb : “I’ve been thinking about coming up with some farm hack zines, and have some ideas, but haven’t done any development yet or know specifically the topics I’d want to initially focus on.” What are your ideas? Can we help?

  3. Other cool zines you’ve read or appreciated related to GOAT topics?

We also have a lot of exceptional visual artists in our community (@river @mstenta @anna) - who wants to collaborate on another entry in the methods series?


Making zines intersects with ideas I’ve had for blog posts and posters.
Starting with general tech sovereignty, making the case for open-source hardware, how it builds skills and community and personal resilience.
But then having brief primers on specific technical subjects. Like soil health and fungi and composting. What different tractor implements do. Feasibility study for small-scale grain production (we have cool designs for bike-powered winnowers and threshers! How much time and effort would it take to feed ourselves using those?). Small-scale hydropower- how does it work, when is it appropriate, how to tell if your river has the right conditions to generate enough energy to be worthwhile. Tips and tricks for harvesting. Common edible weeds. Hoop house design.
Topics that try to get people to think more critically about their surroundings, how to work with the environment and how to use available materials.
Most of my ideas are about trying to make intimidating technical questions a little more approachable, but I really like the zines you linked and I think there’s a lot of good social approaches to take as well.


@anna & I are meeting weekly to make some documentation zines for OpenTEAM-- would love to keep hearing from all of you about the following:

  1. Zines that inspire you! @sudokita shared these in the HCD meeting today that I’m loving:

  2. Examples of GOOD DOCUMENTATION like this: CLEAR Lab Book – CLEAR

Another resource from Jamie: “I share this any opportunity I get, but I really love the way this is able to be configured, remixed, forked, etc, and still can be printed out to pdf or even physical form if you want, while contributing back to the original repo if you want too”

Also great conversation about the benefits of templatizing & making replicable processes visible, and alternatives to walls of text. Thank you HCD group! we love you :smiley:


Haha, I was coming here to share that too, @vicsf , but now I won’t feel too bad sharing 2 other things that have inspired me along these lines. :grin:

First a disclaimer: I think my understanding of “zine” in this conversation is skewed heavily towards “participatory education materials” that can be remixed and hacked like a zine, rather than the strictest interpretation of the kind of zines you’d find at the merch table after the punk rock show. I love them both, but just wanted to make that clear.

  • A Popular Education Handbook by Bev Burke and Rick Arnold (ca. 1983?) is “An educational experience taken from Central America and adapted to the Canadian context,” as the subtitle reads, and is heavily based on Paolo Freire’s ideas.
  • Learn Clojure with Shapes is an interactive tutorial for learning programming in Clojure, appropriately named after Maria Montessori. It’s all FOSS, of course, and they have a great page in their GH wiki explaining their pedagogy.

I guess I mention these in conjunction with zines and documentation because I’ve always wanted tools that would take the radical creativity of something like A Popular Education Handbook with the digital interactivity of Nathan Schneider’s Community Rule comes really close to that ideal, and I like to come back to all three for thinking about more creative ways of producing documentation that can be dynamic and accessible to more people.

The example I mentioned on the earlier call, where I’d love to take a shot at putting those ideas into practice, was to adapt Luis Razeto’s How to Create a Solidarity Enterprise (trans. by Matt Noyes, who @laurieWayne introduced me to) into an interactive guide, possibly while also working through the guide, too, if I’m ever able to convince enough folks to start a coop. :crossed_fingers:t2:

And in case that link to the pdf gets taken down or it’s just not practical to view, here are a few sample pages from the Burke/Arnold book, because I just love the fun and playful illustrations combined with the gritty, real-world practicality of it all (that’s pretty zine-like, right?):


Love these, Jamie! I was paging through David Bollier’s Changemaker’s Guide to Commoning, which explicitly shouts out visual inspiration from the classic Whole Earth Catalog – it’s a beloved format for popular education and info sharing for a reason. & photocopying & cheap b&w printing are still revolutionary technologies!

I’ve also been messing around in the section on vintage manuals (just me? no?) and am having strong feelings about collaboration thanks to the 1978 user-compiled publication Hints and Kinks for Radio Amateurs.

image :sob:

Also friends at the Jewish Farmer Network are soliciting contributions for an upcoming zine on Shabbat practices for farmers if you know anyone who is looking to contribute!

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I love how the whole thing is compiled from short snippets contributed by individual users and organized by theme for the main chapters (eg, “Aids for the Station & Shop” and “Hints for the Power Supply”).

Also, re: Whole Earch Catalog, I can’t resist sharing this: Damaged Earth Catalog.

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Just came across this large repository of anarchist zines, “a reboot of the long-gone site,” still in beta.

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These are some great resources.

One short document I like is A Power Primer: An introduction to the internal combustion engine, by General Motors. It’s pretty text-heavy but it has a lot of good illustrations and explains things in simple terms.

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