We live in a world where large corporations have become too big to fail. From financial corporations to farming corporations, we see dependence upon government aid. We live in a world with rising energy costs and an unstable food system. Many of us would like to purchase goods in a local economy. Some would even like to produce our own goods, to grow our own food, to split our own firewood, to build our own homes. To this end, we aim to arm the common man and woman with a human powered utility tractor.
The human powered tractor (HPT) is born out of the ideal of self-sufficiency, of radical independence. For a small scale farm, which is what we know, the HPT would perform many of the tasks that a conventional tractor would perform but for a fraction of the up-front cost. The HPT can be built with low-cost, readily available materials. It has no long-term operating costs such as the fuel that you would put in a conventional tractor. You are literally dependent upon nothing but your own two legs to use this powerful tool.
The HPT would have power take-off for versatile applications. It could be used to power a log splitter, wood lathe, grain grinder, water pump or even a generator. The HPT is designed for use in an agricultural setting. It would accept attachments for seeding, transplanting, cultivating and harvesting crops. The HPT would work best in a no-till farming system and would offer the user or maker plenty of room to meet their specific needs. It would have two sets of bicycle seats and pedals, but could be operated with one or two riders.
We are thrilled to have the chance to design and build this machine, which would enable small farmers to get started with a small initial investment. We see the HPT as an invaluable tool for farmers, homesteaders, do-it-yourselfers and off-the-gridders. Farm, garden or homestead with your own two legs, free from fossil fuels and free from debt. We can’t wait to share the human powered tractor with all of you who hold true to the independent American Spirit!
Filmed for the Jack Daniels Independence project Instructables contest. Starring George Mertz, Tim Raffio, and the illustrious Sidekick (the dog). Birth dates: Tim Raffio 03/21/1989 George Mertz: 10/3/1981