Permaculture – The Safe and Sane Way to Proceed! – Learn Along With Me

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Last evening, Tuesday, January 28th, I traveled over to Montpelier for the Transition Speaker Series topic ( Home Resiliency: Staying Warm, Fed and Watered in a Very Cold Climate) being held in the Hayes Room, Kellogg-Hubbard Library.

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Ben Falk

Ben Falk was the speaker, discussing the most essential systems needed in our region to maintain a failure-proof source of the basics: heat, hot water, food, light and communications. Ben used his own home systems as a case study and explored the particular resiliency challenges we have always faced in Vermont, and how they are being exacerbated by a changing climate and economic conditions.

I have followed Ben Falk on Facebook for some time now to better know him as a person  and I have studied his website and watched many of his educational videos to be introduced to Permaculture.

I wanted to be in the same room as Ben. I wanted to hear him directly. I wanted to check out and verify his Energy. All is good!  Ben Falk is a young man who is “walking the walk” as he devotes his energy and expertise to educating and helping people prepare for as secure a life as possible in a rapidly changing world.

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Ben Falk’s Recently Published Book.

I have a friend in Maine who received Ben’s book for Christmas!  He talks about it consistently.  It is on my list as the very next book I buy!

“The Resilient Farm and Homestead is a handbook for developing regenerative human habitat systems adaptive to drought, flooding, heat, power outage, price spikes, pest pressure, and the multitude of challenges brought by climate change, peak oil, food system contamination and economic decline. The book also details leading-edge strategies for regenerating soil, water systems and human health through the design and operations of the homeastead and farm.

The book covers the groundbreaking systems Ben Falk, M.A.L.D. and his team have established at the Whole Systems Design research farm over the past decade. The book includes detailed information on earthworks, water systems, rice paddies (likely the first on the planet in such a cold climate), livestock, species composition, site design and management, fuelwood production and processing, human health-soil enhancement strategies, topsoil production and remineralization, nuts, perennial food and medicine crops, and high performance buildings.

The Resilient Farm and Homestead is more than just a book of tricks and techniques for site development, but offers actual working results of agricultural ecosystems and presents a viable home-scale model for food-producing intentional, ecosystems in cold climates and beyond. Real world farm and homestead systems are articulated with gorgeous full-color photography and dozens of landscape architectural drawings.”

For myself, I look for the plants and systems I can use here on our own small .6 acres (remember that point before the 6!) Our small endeavor will involve more layered plantings and perennial edibles.

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Paradise Lot – 1/10th of an acre – Less than our 6/10ths!

“Jonathan and Eric and their families manage a 1/10 acre urban backyard garden in Holyoke, Massachusetts. This edible landscape features little-used edible native plants as well as useful species from around the world. Over forty species of fruit and seventy perennials with edible leaves make for a long season of foraging. Many are arranged in an edible forest garden, an edible ecosystem composed of perennial polycultures of multipurpose plants. Other components include a tropical crop garden, edible water garden, poultry, annual beds, and bioshelter greenhouse with aquaponics under development. The book Paradise Lot tells the story of the development of the garden from a bare slab of ground to a diverse and productive demonstration.”

So with Ben Falk’s Recently Published Book and Paradise Lot, I have my text books for learning what I need to do to maximize the small piece of earth we are taking care of so that it can be left better than we found it.  These two resources located in Vermont and Massachusetts function in my climate.

All you who read this are not fortunate enough to live in New England:):):)  While you can easily Google resources local to your area, I will mention Adam Remkes and his Cedar Springs Farm out in Utah.

I also recommend that everyone with any interest in maximizing food production in a small area like and follow Jonathan Krausert who lives in Salt Lake City, Utah!  He has been a role model and a mentor for me for a couple of years now!

I invite you join me in this important journey and encourage you to share your experiences, your successes as well as the things that did not work well for you.

We can lean from each other.

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3 Responses to Permaculture – The Safe and Sane Way to Proceed! – Learn Along With Me

  1. Sally January 30, 2014 at 7:48 pm #

    I recently devoured Ben Falk’s website, too. Fascinating! I love reading and learning about others practicing permaculture in our New England climate. I’ve also ordered the “Resilient Farm and Homestead” from Fedco and am eagerly awaiting it’s arrival.

    Jim, if you know of other interesting workshops such as the one you mentioned above, how about mentioning it before it happens, if you can? Maybe some of us who live close enough by could attend as well.

    I love, too, all the info and links you posted about fermenting poultry feed. I’m trying some right now and am interested to see how my birds respond to it. Keep up the good work!

  2. David Capocci February 11, 2014 at 3:28 pm #

    Gaia’s Garden by Toby Hemenway was my first permaculture reference, and I highly recommend it as well!

    But, Ben’s book looks very enticing! Off to see where I can find it!

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