Episode-964- Ben Falk of Whole Systems Design

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 developing a permaculture homestead and creating a permaculture design business.

Additional Resources for Today’s Show

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19 Responses to Episode-964- Ben Falk of Whole Systems Design

  1. Haven’t listen to this yet, but the first time you had Ben on is one of my all time favorites and I’ve listen to it several times. Thanks

  2. @Jack, is it Ben Falk or Ben Cook? I keep thinking you’re calling him Cook.

    Anyway, inspiring podcast today.

    Jessie in Mesquite

  3. Great show today.
    Intelligent responses to both the Short and Long Emergancy.
    Hoping to read you book one day, Ben

  4. Looking forward to listening to this one — I am a big fan of the stuff that Ben Falk is doing, having listened to him on your show before as well as the old Agroinnovations Podcast.

  5. Great show! I would love to here more about what Ben has done in his Zone 4. It was great to here a permaculture expert using some of the same techniques in managing zone 4 that I have been taught since I began logging at 18 years old.

  6. I always enjoy the show. However, I am looking forward to getting back to some non-interview shows.

  7. Ben, thanks for saying that elec. is not basic. I have long felt that if we loose it, we can live without it. When prepping, I think of the pilgrims and pioneers and how they managed. Also, during WWII, we had black out exercises, when I learned that there are times when having lights can make you vulnerable. Even cigarette light can stand out in the dark, and be a security risk, I think.
    Your talk made me realize that survivalism and sustainability is for the young. They say we all have three assets: money, energy and time, but after hearing you, I’d like to add ‘youth’ and “community” to that list. I am gratified to learn how many young people, like you, are taking hold of returning to the land, and living in harmony with the land, helping to heal it. I think it’s time to pass the baton to a capable new generation and know that I did what I could while I could, and bless and thank you.

  8. Thanks Hillhag, for the kind words….
    And the others for your comments. Happy to answer any questions here if folks have any. Best, Ben

  9. Ben I wish you were in Texas, I could use someone like yourself to help me design my homestead. Like you, I’m paralyzed by not knowing where to begin; where to locate ponds, etc.

    Jessie in Mesquite

  10. Ben,
    I enjoyed your interview! I also spent some time on your website last night. I’m in the early stages on property I just purchased which already has a pond. I’ve been looking around for nitrogen fixing trees that have multiple uses. Do you have some suggestions. You mentioned a couple on one of your videos.

    Also, do you have a map/layout of your property or project that names some plants / trees and layout of berries and other plants. I’m in Misssouri so I’m sure many of the species should work well. Again, I’m just looking for ideas that can can work and see what I think will work best on my property. I know more now than every before but I still don’t know that many trees and plant varieties that may be uncommon “less popular”.

    • I also wanted to mention that I’m planning to do earthworks this fall to prepare for tree planting this spring!! I agree whole heatedly with getting trees in the ground.

  11. Great show. I find these shows extremely valuable and motivational as I begin down the permaculture journey. The analysis of the eco bent and prepper bent meeting at permaculture could not be more true and timely. Just as Ben said; its time to start focusing on our similarities and not our differences.

    Good work men in using permaculture as a tool to shatter a dichotomy.

  12. Love the pics from the website – especially those with snow. Makes me want to leave Texas even sooner! ;)

  13. Ben is doing some really cool stuff – I look forward to the next time you have him on!

    Regarding Jack’s comment on young folks not always having the funds for homesteading — check out waldeneffect.org Anna and Mark started a homestead with very little money (and no mortgage) and make most of their income through an online microbusiness. Of course, they live very humbly in an old trailer they got for the price of hauling it off AND you have to walk a quarter mile through the woods and ford a small stream to even get to their place… But as Jack always says, if you think in terms of building a homestead rather than buying a homestead, anything is possible. I’m trying to get Anna to come on TSP — she did a great interview for another podcast once, but she’s just not much of a self-promoter.

  14. On the sheep – if someone is not interested in the wool, consider hair sheep instead. They are not as weather-proof as wool sheep, but they don’t need to be shorn and are not as suseptible to fly-strike. Or consider other small ruminent species (goats, alpacas, or even small cattle). Emjoyed the info.

  15. Great interview! Where are the pictures you promised. Would love to see Bens place. I have lived witih solar for the last 25 years. It was the only way to go where our property is. Also we built an earthship, it has great heat retention……but a little too much in the summer here in AZ. Thanks

  16. Ben is a truly inspiring young man—what a pleasure to hear someone who appreciates the beauty of our earth and who is ready to take such good care of it and show others how to do the same !!!

  17. Where are the pictures of the hot water tank and wood stove set up?