L’Atelier Paysan is a French-speaking collective of small-scale farmers, employees and agricultural development organisations who design open source farm tools.
Based on the principle that farmers are themselves innovators, they have been collaboratively developing methods and practices to reclaim farming skills and achieve self-sufficiency in relation to the tools and machinery used in organic farming.
They have an English language website, which includes about a dozen tool descriptions with technical drawings. All tools can be appropriated and modified by farmers.
In France, as in other “developed” nations, technological practices in agriculture are mainly driven by the agro-industry, and correspond to its particular needs. L’Atelier Paysan wants to reassert ownership of the system-wide design of farms.
According to the collaborative, the development of tools and self-built machinery adapted to small-scale farming can provide a significant impact on the growth of organic farming and contribute to improving organic farming practices.
Collectively validated designs are available for — among others — a wheel hoe (used for weeding between rows of crops), a bed ridger (which can be used instead of a plough to incorporate crop residue and green manures into the soil), a tilter (for cultivation), and a roller (for flattening land or breaking up large clumps of soil).
Most tools are aimed for use with small tractors (using the quick hitch triangle that replaces the traditional three point linkage system), while others are developed for use with animal draught power.
About a dozen other open-source designs are in progress. One of these is theAggrozouk, a light pedal-powered tool carrier. Tools are hitched onto the underside of the frame through an electrically powered assistance system.