Monday, August 25, 2014

Resilient Farm

Ben Falk's book, The Resilient Farm and Homestead, has, like Darrell Frey's book (see Bioshelters, 8/15/14) and Sepp Holzer's (see Permaculture--Austrian Style, 8/5/14), a little bit of everything.  The subtitle hints at how much is in it: 'An Innovative Permaculture and Whole Systems Design Approach'.  In fact the farm that Ben Falk runs is called the Whole Systems Research Farm.

If he has one focus to the book, it's to encourage others to be regenerative and resilient.  In the appendix to the book he includes a test to assess your own resiliency.

While the book covers the gamut of what he does on the farm, including extensive sections on food crops, animals, water, soil, fuel, shelter building, and the design process, one of the things he includes that I found particularly useful was that he listed 72 'Resiliency and Regeneration Principles'.  Some of my favorites include: "Biological Complexity, Technological Simplicity" ("Resilience is greatest when living aspects of a system are complex, diverse, and connected, while the nonliving aspects of the system are simple"), "Two is One, One is None" (things always fail, it's important to have backup systems), and "Solutions = Alignment" (solutions emerge when you are aligned with natural forces),   A lot of the principles seem obvious but are helpful reminders: "Simplest Solution Is the Best Solution", "Increase Diversity, Don't Reduce It", "Good Design Always Empowers", and "Storage Always Runs Out".

A good bit of why I find Ben Falk's book useful is that he's writing about doing permaculture in Vermont--and I've lived my life in New England and came close to being part of a farming community in nearby New York that would operate much like the Whole Systems Research Farm.  Permaculture started in Australia and, while I got the principles and how useful they were, many of the applications that I first saw were for hot or, especially, dry climates.  In New England, there is water everywhere.  If you leave a patch of land alone for more than a few years, a forest will grow out of it.

Falk's book (like Frey's and Holzer's) is permaculture adapted to a cooler, wetter climate.  As I said in my post on Holzer's book: "the application of permaculture be different in each place."  Almost everything in The Resilient Farm and Homestead is applicable to the land that I live in.

Quote of the Day:  "This book is not a rehashing of information found elsewhere but only of direct experience. ... It is written with the hope that people all over the world will find value in it as they take back control over some measure of their own lives, empowering themselves and their families in the pursuit of resilience and regeneration and revel in the health, freedom, and fulfillment that is a natural outgrowth of such a life."   - Ben Falk

No comments: