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Building a Resilient Homestead of Your Own

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Organic Transitions page.

"Imagine inheriting a food forest," farmer and author Ben Falk suggests in The Resilient Farm and Homestead: an Innovative Permaculture and Whole Systems Design Approach.

And although Falk does eventually go on to describe exactly how one would go about creating a low-maintenance, edible forest garden, the idea he poses ignites a greater question - what does it mean to leave a legacy and what will our children inherit on this earth?

In an uncertain future with a declining economy in a world of rapidly disappearing natural resources, is accumulating individual wealth the best and most ethical inheritance for us to leave to our children?

Wealth of nations

For Falk, the key ensuring the livelihood of future generations is not by amassing and passing down wealth in the traditional monetary sense, but by growing and creating your own thriving farm and homestead based on the concepts of regeneration and resilience - starting today.

Whereas some books on permaculture take a more theoretical approach, Falk's manual is rooted in direct personal experience, adding an element of credibility occasionally lacking in manuals that rely on theoretical knowledge and second-hand accounts. It is essentially a case study that describes what has worked and not worked for Falk and his team over the last decade at the Whole Systems Research Farm in Vermont. The term permaculture is introduced early on as a "design approach and framework for problem solving," and although Falk uses the language of permaculture and its ideas throughout the work, more detail into the movement and specific principles itself is omitted in favor of Falk's direct, practical experience.

Early in the book, Falk creates a sense of urgency that now is the time to take responsibility for the future, and he describes how the long-term approach of creating a resilient and regenerative farm can and will sustain future generations. 


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