The Resilient Farm and Homestead

The Resilient Farm and Homestead

An Innovative Permaculture and Whole Systems Design Approach

Book - 2013
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Baker & Taylor
A manual for developing durable, beautiful, and highly functional human habitat systems fit to handle an age of rapid transition.

Chelsea Green Publishing

The Resilient Farm and Homestead is a manual for developing durable, beautiful, and highly functional human habitat systems fit to handle an age of rapid transition.

Ben Falk is a land designer and site developer whose permaculture-research farm has drawn national attention. The site is a terraced paradise on a hillside in Vermont that would otherwise be overlooked by conventional farmers as unworthy farmland. Falk’s wide array of fruit trees, rice paddies (relatively unheard of in the Northeast), ducks, nuts, and earth-inspired buildings is a hopeful image for the future of regenerative agriculture and modern homesteading.

The book covers nearly every strategy Falk and his team have been testing at the Whole Systems Research Farm over the past decade, as well as experiments from other sites Falk has designed through his off-farm consulting business. The book includes detailed information on earthworks; gravity-fed water systems; species composition; the site-design process; site management; fuelwood hedge production and processing; human health and nutrient-dense production strategies; rapid topsoil formation and remineralization; agroforestry/silvopasture/grazing; ecosystem services, especially regarding flood mitigation; fertility management; human labor and social-systems aspects; tools/equipment/appropriate technology; and much more, complete with gorgeous photography and detailed design drawings.

The Resilient Farm and Homestead is more than just a book of tricks and techniques for regenerative site development, but offers actual working results in living within complex farm-ecosystems based on research from the “great thinkers” in permaculture, and presents a viable home-scale model for an intentional food-producing ecosystem in cold climates, and beyond. Inspiring to would-be homesteaders everywhere, but especially for those who find themselves with “unlikely” farming land, Falk is an inspiration in what can be done by imitating natural systems, and making the most of what we have by re-imagining what’s possible. A gorgeous case study for the homestead of the future.

Book News
In this case study of an integrative approach to land-use planning and design, Falk (Whole Systems Design, LLC) shares lessons gleaned from maintaining the permaculture of his Whole Systems Research Farm in Vermont. Advocating a self-reliant, sustainable lifestyle, he discusses the design process, basic elements (e.g, fertility harvesting), and land uses (food crops, food medicines, wood as one's primary heat and building source) in the context of site specifics and global analogues. The book includes a resiliency aptitude checklist, information on tools and materials, a glossary, resources, design drawings, and illustrations by Cornelius Murphy. Annotation ©2013 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: White River Junction, Vt. : Chelsea Green Pub., c2013
ISBN: 9781603584449
Branch Call Number: 631.58 FAL
Characteristics: 304 p. :,ill. (some col.) ;,26 cm.
Additional Contributors: Murphy, Cornelius


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Jan 30, 2018

This is an excellent all round book on developing a sustainable homestead. Falk's focus is on minimizing inputs in the future. Highly intelligent and insiteful writing on our future to support ourselves. Worth buying to keep as reference.

Mar 24, 2015

This is one of my favourite permaculture books, and I look forward to updated future editions.
Ben Falk is a very smart man, and as such this is a relatively dense book compared to, say, John Jeavons 'How to Grow More...' - which is more my kind of information book.
Best of all: he is in Vermont - USDA Zone 4.... An excellent real world, working example of a temperate permaculture homestead.
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