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Circulate on Fridays: Farming from shipping containers and open source

Get all your circular economy relevant reading and viewing in one place every weekend with Circulate on Fridays. Today, we’re focusing on open source, the potential impact of a new EU circular economy finance platform, and why the future of farming is in shipping containers!


“Walter Stahel, the Swiss architect and industrial adviser, has been one of the fathers of the idea for a circular economy since the ‘70s.  Stahel argues with a ‘river and lake’ metaphor. Thus far, the economy is conceived as a river, in which we should try to double the flow rate per capita every ten or twenty years, even if this eternally doubling flow sees the content of beneficial nutrients or detrimental toxins grows faster. Instead, a circular economy would be rather like a lake. Citizens and policy makers would rather preserve and improve the quality and accessibility of this lake, without increasing the affluent and effluent river more than absolutely necessary.”

Marco Morosini explored the circular economy concept in detail in the Huffington Post this week, and it’s usually an article well worth reading when Walter Stahel gets a mention.

Autonomous vehicles are widely predicted to play a significant role in people’s travel arrangements within the next couple of decades. With that in mind, the open sourcing of Udacity’s self-driving vehicle simulator software, announced this week, could provide a further lead for collaborative design and engineering in that space.

Keeping the open source theme in mind, the Open Source Circular Economy Days is taking place once again this year between June 8-12, and the team behind it has put a call out for people looking to set up local events.  

The European Commission has established the Circular Economy Finance Support Platform with the goal of “bringing investors and innovators together and to keep up momentum in the transition to a circular economy”. Find out more about that story in this Sustainable Brands article.

Will Ireland be one of the first nations to completely cut out fossil fuels? The Irish parliament has passed a bill that stops the country from investing in non-renewable sources of energy.

Meanwhile, a startup called Local Roots has designed mini farms combining the benefits of disused shipping containers with urban farming. They’re not the first example of innovators to identify this opportunity, but the simplicity of their approach to transforming a 40-foot container into five acres of indoor farm is worth learning more about.

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The Author

Seb Egerton-Read

Seb Egerton-Read

Seb writes daily content for Circulate across the full spectrum of the website's topics. Previously he has spent five years as a freelance writer for a number of websites and blogs. You can e-mail Seb at seb[at]

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