Episode-1195- Ben Falk on The Resilient Farm and Homestead

Ben Falk of WholeSystemsDesign.com

Ben Falk of WholeSystemsDesign.com

Ben developed Whole Systems Design, LLC 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 backcountry 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 regenerative 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 conducted nearly 200 site development consultations across New England and facilitated dozens of courses on permaculture design, property selection, microclimate design, and design for climate change.

Today he joins us to discuss his new book “The Resilient Farm and Homestead” along with subjects like  wood heat, property evaluation, integrating grazing animals with perennials, permaculture design course, drought and flood proofing, cold climate strategies, ponds and swales.

Resources for today’s show…

Ben’s Links

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24 Responses to Episode-1195- Ben Falk on The Resilient Farm and Homestead

  1. As ever a great interview.
    Sounds like Ben’s book would be very relevant to the UK Climate
    I have added it to my must buy list



  2. Great show!
    I’ll have to get up to Ben’s place for a workshop someday

  3. Ben,

    You mentioned that some stuff does not have a chance to get established this late in the year for northern states. Is it too late to plant clover?

    • It’s likely too late but if the weather is cool and moist long enough you might have success. A lot depends on the weather immediately after seeding… worth trying lightly.

  4. Gator Bee Gal

    Great interview! I will definitely be getting the book. Ben, you mentioned clearing an acre of pine logging debris – I’m curious as to how you did this. I will be harvesting about 3 acres of pine to convert the land to pasture, but am unsure what is the best way to dispose of the debris without damaging the land. Everyone around here recommends burning it, but setting a house-high pile of pine branches on fire makes me a little nervous. 😛 Thanks Jack and Ben for a wonderful and educational show!

    • What about chipping it?? There are chippers big enough to chip entire root-wads, so the size of debris isn’t the problem.

      • Gator Bee Gal

        Hey mule,
        I actually called a tree service and asked them about chipping it, and they said it would be a nightmare. I figured they must have the heaviest duty chippers around. I’m not sure who else might have a big chipper.

    • woody bed pasture border, planted with fedge 🙂

    • We’ve used excavators and hugel mounding…
      chipping is a lot of work and probably not a good idea with dirty rocky stumps.

  5. Jack – another great episode. I’ve already added Ben’s book to the library (which seems to be growing faster than I can get through them, but that’s another story).

    Towards the end of the episode when Jack and Ben were discussing grafting various types of sea berry/buckthorn to different rootstocks, Ben mentioned a few different nursuries in passing that he used to source some of his plants from. Did anybody happen to catch the names of these places or could post links to their pages? Much appreciated.

  6. If you buy from Amazon make sure to post a comment. Then his book will be suggested to others providing more sales. That being said I’m going to get it directly from Ben so he can earn his fair share.

  7. Greg Hershner

    What varieties of Sea Berries did Ben start with from one green world?

  8. Ben-

    Would love info your sources for clover varieties discussed to integrate here on our farm.


  9. Does Ben’s book discuss his experience with Geese? It certainly sounded interesting.

    Also, I wonder if the relative value of swales is very site-specific here in the northeast. I’ve had gardens that needed water every day in the summer, but my current vegetable garden did fine with no water at all during our recent dry spell.

    • Modern Survival

      Nope he got geese after the book went to print.

      • Jack, thanks for the reply. I’ll still be purchasing the book on his website. 🙂

        It would be interesting to hear the two of you do a show on geese sometime in the future.

  10. I’ve read at least a dozen permaculture books, and I have to say that this one is right at the top of my list of favorites. I highly recommend it if you’re on the fence. There’s a lot of practical experience in there, which I think sets it apart from the crowd.

  11. Kilted Brewer

    Great interview Jack and Ben, my wife and I really enjoyed it. And… The very next day I got a call from the library letting me know it was my turn to take your book out. It’s some kind of impressive. I’ll be getting my own copy to keep.

    Ben- do you think you’ll ever offer an online PDC course? Living in Maine, I think your methods and experience would be very beneficial, but as much as I’d love to come to Vermont, it’s not going to happen anytime soon.

    Again, great episode, great book!

  12. Ben mentioned a list of things to look at when looking at a piece of property. Does anyone recall who he referred to?

    Kevin in NJ

  13. Jack,
    You mentioned fencing panels for the geese that is movable. Could you provide a picture or a link ? We currently use metal folding dog fencing for our chickens whom we tractor, but they get awkward sometimes and some larger panel fencing might work a little better for us. Thanks for all you do, the I info on this episode should help us here in CT.

  14. I seem to be having trouble with the link on Ben Falk’s website to buy the book. Is anyone else having this issue?

    I click add to cart and it gives me an error.