Deep Green Machines

Deep Green Machines

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8310-3.ch013


Deep Green Machines (DGM) was founded in the village of Rutledge, Missouri with a population of approximately 100 residents. Nearby, there are other larger specialized communities, which include the Anabaptist Mennonite community and three intentional communities with a focus on sustainable ecological living. DGM was established as a disruptor to break a continuing cycle of low wages and defunct microeconomic practices. In the end, it was the heterogeneousness of these communities that prevented DGM from making an impact, and ultimately led to it relocating. This chapter explores Deep Green Machines.
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In my alternate reality, DGM would be a space that provided people and community with agency to become more abundant. It would only take a few repeating projects with steady predicable volume -- billed out at $75 to 120 per hour to make a difference in people’s lives. — Frank Cicela


Organization Background

Experiments that end in failure tend to provide as much rich detail and understanding of a topic as exemplars. Frank Cicela, the founder of Deep Green Machines (DGM) in the small town of Ruthledge, Missouri, shared with the author his vision for establishing, running and ultimately shuttering of the DGM space. At the time of my visit Deep Green Machine in Rutledge was being moved to the larger community of Warsaw, Missouri. Cicela describes attributing the name, Deep Green Machine, as an acknowledgment to Derrick Jensen, the author of Deep Green Resistance (McBay, Keith, & Jensen, 2011). In the book, the authors examine environmental issues and propose societal action to bring change to current environmental trends. In a follow-up email, Cicela wrote Deep Green Machines (DGM) pays homage to the book’s call for action. Establishing DGM was “My attempt to break free from paralysis and offer some sort of meaningful action.” DGM was founded in May of 2013 by Cicela, after moving from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Cicela describes the decade before making the move to Rutledge, where he held two corporate positions: one in Crawfordsville, Indiana and the other in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In both instances, his job was eliminated, and he and his family had to relocate to find employment. It’s important to understand how Cicela arrived in Missouri because it helped define his later actions to establish the DGM makerspace. While in Cedar Rapids the Cicela Family decided to move to Missouri, he noted:

After finding myself unemployed for the second time in three years I asked, “Okay, what do we want to do now?” We were trying to find a way to lick our wounds and find a space to recover financially. In parallel, my family and I, have had a relationship with the Dancing Rabbit Eco-Village which is within walking distance of Rutledge. We've had the relationship going on seventeen, years. We made visiting the intentional communities a summer vacation destination; we'd come out to visit and volunteer.

According to their website, Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is a sustainability and social structure demonstration project located in Northeast Missouri on 280 acres of land (Dancing Rabbit, n.d.). The Ecovillage has permanent members and also has: internships, work exchange programs, and short-term stays. Likewise, but on a smaller scale (76 acres), Red Earth Farms (Red Earth Farms, n.d.) is dedicated to sustainability, and Sandhill Farm (Sandhill Farm, n.d.) (155 acres) grows 80% of their food and is an egalitarian community. Modern intentional communities like those found in northeast Missouri evolved from the hippie communes of the 1960s and 70s to their current form focused on ecological and environmental concerns (Mazella, 2010). An intentional community is a physical community of people with a political and economic direction, bounded by an intention or goal of living in a certain way as a community (Mazellam, 2010).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Deep Green Resistance: Strategy to Save the Planet: A book McBay, Keith, and Jenson (2011) , calls for the downfall of industrial civilization to save the planet.

Rutledge Town, Missouri: A small town in the Scotland County, Missouri.

Aquaponics: The combining of aquaculture with hydroponics in a symbiotic environment.

Deep Green Machines: A former makerspace started by Frank Cicela in Rutledge, Missouri.

Mennonites: Named after Milo Simons, are part of the Anabaptist movement based on the belief that baptism should be made by adults not infants.

Little Free Library: Free structures that hold books in communities where books are scarce.

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