The Triple Alliance

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The Open Cafe / Community Supported Agriculture / Fab Lab Alliance

The Triple Alliance describes a network of three community supported organizations necissary to meet basic needs and comforts.

  • The Open Cafe, a place to have a meal in good company without a price tag
  • The CSA or community supported farm
  • The Fab Lab, a digitally assisted manufacturing facility to make almost anything

Each space represents a commons, therefore goods are non-commercial and freely accessible to members relative to material limits. Costs are externalised and distributed to members to make these services freely available. The externalization of cost in this way must exceed the benefits of commercial alternatives or risk failure. A persistent effort must transform exchange dependencies into mutual dependencies, sharing information and materials in a manner that increases material autonomy.

The Triple Alliance[edit]

Open Cafe[edit]

The physical hub for activity. Folk dine / work / hack the web / have a chat here.

Community Supported Agriculture[edit]

Community farms share produce based on Cafe demand and member's personal requests.

Fab Labs[edit]

Cafes align with OS Fab Labs to fill out the resource necessity gap to further save monetary dependency.

Mobile Fab Labs[edit]

These labs are used for the rapid construction site to build or maintain homes, warehouses, farm tools, and fabrication facilities.

Collaborative Design for Physical Facilities[edit]

This tool shows a CSA's operations, requests needed materials to members known to have them, and selects volunteers to work a schedule volunteer's themselves make with the times and activities available.

Design Interfaces[edit]

Google Wave[edit]

"Google Wave is "a personal communication and collaboration tool" announced by Google at the Google I/O conference, on 27 May 2009.[1][2] It is a web based service and computing platform designed to merge e-mail, instant messaging, wiki, and social networking.[3] It has a strong collaborative and real-time[4] focus supported by robust spelling/grammar checking, automated translation between 40 languages[2], and numerous other extensions.[4] It is expected to be released later in 2009."


Here are a few hoops to jump through to make this Alliance a reality. These examples are to prime the creative pump. The Cafe is the focus:

  • A space and resources are donated for this purpose by those that see the benefit. It can begin in a home and branch out. In urban settings, it can begin with what is already public domain, the local park.
  • Food and beverage donation. Donations for the day/week can be viewed in advance on the Cafe's wiki. Most everyone will want to participate in production because everyone can go here for free.
  • If money is needed, a wiki shows expenses that need to be met and what is generating them; those in the Fab Lab then must explore and create non-commercial alternatives to reduce or eliminate that cost.
  • Event planning. This too is done in wikis and is a place for people to perform or have specific discussions at the Cafe or elsewhere (like at the CSA or Fab Lab) to benefit the Cafe and the people that go there.
  • Elaborate and replicate the Cafe as needed from here:

Community Contract[edit]

The community contract, itself a collaborative design, is a revisable mutual agreement among participating members, even if participation is limited only to use. Ideally, this pact works very well as a wiki. The establishment of a wiki contract shows in itself how well the operation works.

Freecycle 2.0: A Distributed Network of Abundance[edit]


Funding will go the non-commercial and abundant infrastructure, using the methods of the scarcity based periphery until they form abundant cores themselves, reducing the necessity for funding and funding itself over time as activities reduce and dissolve actual scarcities.

The Sell Stuff to Get Stuff Business Model[edit]

I want to produce a Fab Lab to make 'almost' anything, but first need money to build one, but I'm not interested in profit so much as getting these labs up globally for abundant access so people can make what they want to have (rather than purchasing it / bashing me over the head for one). In prospect, once these labs are ubiquitous, I will ask "how can I make this?" rather than "where can I buy this?" Later it will only be "where can I make this" as desired. Knowing this foreseeable reality makes the presentation of Open Business plans like this one even more relevant and necessary.

I then go to the market and see what's selling for a high return that's easiest to make with as few tools and resources as possible. Once I've reverse engineered (open sourced) the thing and simplified the production process (potentially ignorant of patent law) I can now build it in our feeble lab and sell it for a return (like on Ebay) in order to put more tools in the lab which are then reverse engineered and resold to produce more fabrication tools and so on until a fully replicable Open Source Fab Lab is in every town around the world.


  • Sell simple products out of a workshop / fab lab (e.g. Ponoko, Ebay)
  • Purchase-then-reverse engineering more complex fabrication tools from profits
  • Sell the reverse engineered tools to purchase/reverse engineer addition fab tools and or
  • Make more complex items via design submission or sell higher quality items for less where demand is significant