Farmhack @ Metro Pedal March 21

Traktor

Once upon a time i met a farmer named Tim Cook. You can imagine all of us here at Metro Pedal Power were very intrigued when he told me of the bicycle powered tractor he was building. But you don’t even have to imagine check it out here is a photo

This pic is from 2010 when Tim and I met on a small farm plot in Dorchester where Tim was helping out with the City Growers project. I loved the handmade wooden wheels and gnarly  gear ratio, even though i had a hard time piloting it. However, since that lovely spring day, Tim has been working on refining the prototype, he has built 5 or 6  versions and now has one that works really well.
AAAANNND Tim is coming to our shop this weekend with his project! want to build your very own Hacktor Traktor? Come by this weekend and see what it’s all about there will be pedal powered machines in action! Come see how much wheat flour you can produce in 60 seconds on Lu Yoder’s bicycle grain grinder! We will be baking bread too!

Farmhack

Here’s a video of the latest prototype.
Come by between 9am-6pm on Saturday or Sunday to join in the fun, see what’s being hacked, or even help out! If you are interested in being a part of the build party, check out the postings on the farmhack site, feel free to RSVP so we make enough coffee :)

Power to the Pedals Screening at Harvard

We are pretty proud that the Power to the Pedals documentary has had so many screenings since the Boston premier last April, and very excited to announce the next one! The 30 min documentary about Metro Pedal Power and Wenzday Jane will be screening again in Cambridge on March 2nd 2015. This event will include a short discussion with Wenzday and filmmaker Bob Nesson. Hope to see you there!

Harvard University will be hosting the screening on March 2nd at 6pm
Wasserstein Hall, Room 2012
1585 Massachusetts Ave. Cambridge, MA 02138
6-8pm

Jobs Jobs Jobs

When I take a day off, I often sit around and think about the nature of the economy that we operate in. Most of the time I’m in a quandry about the simplest and most basic of questions like: What is value? Today, I’m imagining what the implications might be when we treat interpersonal interactions as transactions with a “value”. And: how does abstract value differ from quantified value?

In his book “Debt, the First 5000 Years”, anthropologist David Graeber suggests that perhaps the tendency of mathematically quantifying value might be related to the origins of the extreme war world that we currently live in. Math is murder? Maybe it’s not the math that is the problem tho. I think when you quantify the value of things it creates opportunities for negotiation, and potentially dispute, since value is subjective, relative, and fluid. Quantifying value requires agreement.
David Graeber does a great job of dissecting our preconceived notions about the economy, from an anthropological perspective. He examines debt and credit is tied to traditional ideas of morality, he suggests a correlation between private property and human slavery, challenges the myths of barter economies, and muses on capitalism in general. This book really got me thinking about currency. I asked myself: Why do we call it “currency”? Is it the current value of things? No, no actually, it’s not that sense of the word. It’s more like a river current that flows.
Perhaps an even better analogy: “Currency” is like the current in a power circuit.

Another interesting character, behavioral scientist Dan Ariely Continue reading

All Business is Cooperative

 

I started researching worker-owned cooperative structures early on in the development of my business. My questions about workplace environments and dynamics were some of the main reasons i decided to go into business. research was part of my homework to figure out what the heck i was doing. I even drafted legal documents to share ownership and had meetings to engage employees as owners, etc. But I couldn’t get commitment /buy-in from most employees, in fact had a couple who said they were not interested in being a part of a worker owned co-op. Was there something I was doing wrong?

After several conversations with friends and colleagues, i started to wonder if i was chasing some unachievable utopian dream of “shared responsibility” and “equal empowerment”.
I thought long and hard about this.
here i am still thinking about it.
I also started to wonder if i was subconsciously trying to evade taking my own full responsibility for my life by attempting to share responsibility with others.

Continue reading

We’re Hiring!

We need some good strong-hearted riders to join our team! If you want a job working with awesome people that pays you to get exercise, be outside all day, and get lots of local farm veggies, all while making a real impact on our urban ecology, then this is for you!

We’re Hiring!

Delivery Driver
We are seeking vibrant, athletic, and self-motivated individuals to join our team of delivery drivers. We are currently hiring part time delivery personnel who are interested in a unique and challenging work opportunity with a mission based organization based in Union Square, Somerville.
Duties include
• Safely and professionally riding our cargo bicycles and trikes around Boston’s urban neighborhoods, carrying heavy loads.
• time management and completing deliveries on deadlines.
• maintaining delivery records for each route.
• handling customer service in the field on both ends of the delivery process.
Ideal candidate
• is comfortable and safe navigating Metro Boston streets and traffic on a bike.
• is able to endure harsh New England weather conditions while looking good, modeling excellent road etiquette, and providing superior customer service.
• maintains healthy personal appearance and has positive attitude.
• is meticulous and detail oriented at work.
• is passionate about the role of the bicycle in transforming urban culture.
• has an entrepreneurial spirit, learns quickly and can problem solve on the fly.

This job requires heavy lifting, physical endurance, and working outdoors in all weather. Think you can handle it? Drop us a line to info@metropedalpower.com with resume and introduction. We look forward to hearing from you!

Storms, Springtime, CSAs

We had a pretty intense wind storm yesterday, and while we are thankful that the snow did not match in intensity, we were still intimidated by the high winds blowing us around in the streets.
Then i saw THIS

For some reason, after i looked at the visualization of the storm from space (check out this awesome interactive map) the howling wind felt all the more intense, or maybe it’s just that I felt all the more tiny and fragile.
Meanwhile, the farmers are planning, seeding, and planning away. We got a couple new partnerships that we’re excited about – check it out

Gentrification vs Prosperity

What the hell is gentrification anyway? Seems to me that “gentrification” is one of those weird subjective vocabulary words. Perhaps it means something like this: “There’s something that I want/need that is priced outside of my range to purchase it.” Perhaps sometimes it means old delicatessens and dive bars turning over to multi-national corporate banks

I guess my question is this: What, exactly, is the difference between gentrification and prosperity?
I mean if the neighborhood you live in is prosperous, the people around you are doing well and thriving – isn’t that a good thing?
Perhaps the problem is that “market value” is too often being driven by forces that have nothing to do with the individual prosperity of the residents… forces such as “city planners”, zoning boards, and corporate developers.
Continue reading