Episode-771- Ben Falk on Growing Rice in Cold Climates with Permaculture

Ben Falk of WholeSystemsDesign.com

Ben Falk of WholeSystemsDesign.com

Ben Falk developed Whole Systems Design, as a land-based response to biological and cultural extinction and the increasing separation between people and elemental things. Life as a designer, builder, ecologist, tree-tender, and back country traveler continually informs Ben’s integrative approach to developing landscapes and buildings.

His home landscape and the WSD studio site in Vermont’s Mad River Valley serve as a proving ground for the innovative land developments featured in the projects of Whole Systems Design. Ben has studied architecture and landscape architecture at the graduate level and holds a master’s degree in land-use planning and design.

He has taught design courses at the University of Vermont and Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum as well as on permaculture design, microclimate design, and design for climate change. He serves on the Board of Directors and Faculty at the Yestermorrow Design-Build School.  Ben joins us today to discuss growing rice with terraced systems in cold climates along with permaculture design considerations.

Join Ben and I Today as we Discuss…

  • Why grow rice in the first place
  • The methods of hill side agriculture that make a rice system practical
  • Lessons learned by cultivating rice in a climate not know for it
  • Integration of water fowl into a rice based system
  • Pest control via the attraction and introduction of predators
  • What hiring a permaculture design consultant can do for you
  • The most common mistakes people make setting up a site
  • The first things Ben looks at when evaluating a site
  • Several ways you can save yourself thousands of dollars in mistakes when buying land
  • A few uncommon crops and what they can do for your system

 Additional Resources for Today’s Show

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7 Responses to Episode-771- Ben Falk on Growing Rice in Cold Climates with Permaculture

  1. irene schultz

    I find most things that Ben Falk says extremely interesting . He’s a very bright young man

  2. Linda Johnson

    I had earmarked this news report back in July: http://news.yahoo.com/vermont-farmer-experiments-cold-hardy-rice-071632801.html. Ben is not the only one experimenting with rice in cold climates. This man is not a permaculturist, though, I think. Anyway, I enjoyed the intellectually stimulating talk on thinking about alternative crops for cold climates (like mine in northern Michigan).

    Regards, Lin

    • Thanks for mentioning Erik – yes, he’s planting bottomland paddies and starting to do this at a sizeable scale 1-2 acres/5-10k lbs. There are as of this year many many small growers starting up as well. This is going to be a real local crop on the market very soon, it seems.

  3. David Galloway

    This was a great show. Ben’s PDC sounds great; it sounds really expensive, but for two weeks of instruction plus room and board it’s not too bad. Hopefully I can swing it.

  4. There has been wild rice grown in St. Maries ID for many years, just about 30 or so miles south of us. But I never realized how much one could harvest from a small plot like 1000 sq ft. Something I’m going to research more over the winter. Thanks to Ben & Jack for one of those “wake up calls”!

  5. Wow what a great show I have always wondered about growing rice in cold weather beause they do it in asia and I know there are some very cold areas there. I wish Ben and Jack would have went in more of the nuts and bolts of growing rice. Maybe when Ben comes back for another show he could talk more about that. Thanks guys it was fun.

  6. Wild rice has been grown &/or cultivated in the north, such as MN, where I am from since before the quakers thought about set up a new church on the east coast. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service has publications on how to grow the stuff and it is better tasting and better for you than the regular brown stuff.