- General information
Location‘Regenerative Energy Communities’ Växjö, Sweden
TopicToolmaking, DIY, repair, repurpose, ergonomy
CollaborationRoel Roscam Abbing
The workshop ‘Toolmaking for a Human-Sized Agriculture’ focuses on the relationship between tool design, the human body and the land and was organized for ‘Regenerative Energy Communities’, an experimental site in Växjö, Sweden.
Most industrial farm and garden tools are typically designed for the average person. They are not optimised for people with diverse body types and are only designed for generic gardening tasks. As a result, humans adapt themselves to tools, instead of tools being shaped after situated human needs and capabilities. At the same time, hand tools fall in disrepair and disuse, but this does not mean they have to be discarded. Repairing these tools can also become an opportunity for improvement, adaptation and personalisation.
The workshop ‘Toolmaking for a Human-Sized Agriculture’ invites participants to join and repair or repurpose old garden tools. During the workshop we explore how these tools can be made to reflect one’s specific needs, talents, interest and relationship to their local context.
“Sketching” with wood
A stack of branches was taken to the workshop space as the main building material. The reasoning behind the choice for this material was to make the workshop participants break away from the metric system and instead inspect the different branches carefully and chose them based on their shape, sturdiness or other qualities. An additional side effect of the branches was also that it enabled the participants to experiment freely with the material as it did not require advanced skills or precise measuring to make adjustments: lowering the barrier for participation.
Case 1: irrigation
The participants indicated there had been a long standing issue with proper irrigation of the plot where they grow vegetables. The water needs to be sourced from a lake a couple of hundred meters away and no adequate solution had been found so far. During the workshop the participants identified a traditional method of carrying water using a shoulder pole/yoke as the most simple solution. In addition, the participants also repaired their broken watering cans.
Case 2: Heavy/light forks
Several broken forks were brought to the workshop space and the farmer indicated the hay forks were often used for soil works because they were easier to carry and lighter to work with. One of the outcomes was a solution to create a dismountable platform to make it easier to push the heavy fork into the soil.
Case 3: repairing worn out tools
Several rakes, hoes, sickles and forks were brought to the workshop that were just in need of repair without much alteration. These tools were sharpened during the workshop and some of the handles were replaced with custom made ones based on the sizes of the hands of the participants.