Appropedia is the most extensive wiki in the world to document solutions around sustainability, appropriate technology, poverty reduction, and permaculture.


In 2006, Lonny Grafman had been working on several online and offline sustainable collaboration projects. His experiences led him to start a new project, Appropedia, which was focused on appropriate technology for sustainable development. He wanted to create a platform where people could learn, share and collaborate on practical solutions for sustainability challenges.

To achieve this, Lonny collaborated with Aaron and Gabriel Krause to use the MediaWiki engine for the project. They believed this engine would enable users to contribute to the project quickly and share knowledge. Appropedia was officially launched in April 2006.

In May 2006, Lonny reached out to Chris Watkins through his Wikipedia user page. Chris was a Wikipedia contributor, and he was interested in appropriate technology articles. Lonny thought that Chris could help with the Appropedia project, and after some conversations, Chris agreed to join forces with Appropedia in June 2006. This expanded the project’s focus to cover broader international development and sustainability issues.

Appropedia complemented Wikipedia by providing project information, original research, how-tos, networking, and other material unsuitable for Wikipedia. The collaboration with Chris brought Appropedia more ideas, perspectives, and content.

Around the same time, Curt Beckmann saw a note left on another site and decided to join Appropedia. Curt was passionate about sustainability and brought a lot of energy and new ideas to the project. One of his main contributions was gaining permission to port quality content from other sites, accelerating Appropedia’s content growth and profile.

Meanwhile, Gabriel Krause was working on crucial technical work behind the scenes since September 2006. He was instrumental in maintaining the site’s infrastructure and ensuring the platform ran smoothly.

In December 2006, Appropedia joined forces with WikiGreen after a positive response from Eric Blazek. WikiGreen was a similar project focused on sustainability, and they believed the collaboration would benefit both projects. The merger brought enormous content, including some from CD3WD, which Eric Blazek and Roy Dent ported with permission from various publications. The name Appropedia was used for the project, at least for the time being.

The collaboration between Lonny, Chris, Curt, Gabriel, and Eric brought in more ideas, perspectives, and content to Appropedia. The platform became a hub for practical solutions for sustainability challenges, and it continues to grow and evolve to this day.

Service-learning modules

Promotion of open content for development

Facilitating knowledge transfer

Community building

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