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The Resilient Farm and Homestead: An Innovative Permaculture and Whole Systems Design Approach
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The Resilient Farm and Homestead: An Innovative Permaculture and Whole Systems Design Approach

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  709 ratings  ·  62 reviews
"The Resilient 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 ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published June 3rd 2013 by Chelsea Green Publishing Company (first published January 1st 2013)
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Oct 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
There are so few books that are really helpful for homesteaders and permaculturalists beyond the beginner stages, but this book is one of them. What I enjoy most is the way the author has clearly tried out lots of techniques that are presented theoretically elsewhere, then explains why they did or didn't work for his farm. It's also handy (for me, at least) that his farm is medium-sized, like mine, so he doesn't bother with things that are really only appropriate for small backyards, nor does he ...more
The Resilient Homestead is in a class of its own. It is a book about agriculture, but its attitude to production is idiosyncratic. It is a permaculture book, but Falk keeps the looming specter of Peak Oil and gridcrash squarely in view, which lends it an urgency and thoroughness that most of the play-garden "home-scale" permaculture books never approach. At a glance, it doesn't sound very unique - like most permaculturists, Falk bandwagons on all the permaculture fads in technique and theory, so ...more
In this book, Falk talks about updating his findings in another edition. I wasn't even finished with this one before I wanted to read the next, which I'll be buying when it comes out. Why? Because Falk has written a highly readable and informative book about his life and findings so far at the Whole Systems Research Farm. The second edition can only be better as he continues to relate his successes and failures.

While the book is chockfull of practical information for those wishing to create a re
Jeff Shelnutt
The first third of the book was extremely helpful and applicable to my setting and homesteading efforts. Much of this part dealt with general principles of resiliancy and permaculture. It would be well worth the perusal for anyone who has an interest in exploring these concepts on their own. The remainder was valuable in it's own right, but dealt more with the author's on-location experiences specific to a Vermont climate. Seeing as my weather is about as far from that as it gets, the remaining ...more
Oct 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is probably the most inspiring, and yes, empowering book I have ever read. I'm sure the author's intention was to motivate the reader toward the holistic, self-sufficient path we should be on (probably 'should have been on', for years). In this, he succeeded with me. I have often regretted the sale of my great-grandparents' farm when I was a small child, because as I recall, they had done most or all of these things at the farm/homestead and raised several generations on it's bounty. Now, I ...more
The author articulates many good ideas, but his writing style is overwrought and too self-serious, with frequent manifestations of a mindset dominated by survivalist paranoia. Furthermore, several not-insignificant inconsistencies appear within his overall blueprint for an ideal lifestyle.

For example, he discusses the importance of hoarding spare chainsaw parts for a post-societal-collapse future, yet he does not disclose how he intends to fuel his chainsaw, and this oversight is especially not
Aug 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was a game changer for me. Or, perhaps, more properly gave me the information I needed to do something I hadn't dreamed of doing before.

I bought a small farm in SE Michigan around the New Year, and had this book from the library about that time. As I was mulling over a way to use the area in the creek's floodplain I got this book, where the author talks about growing rice in Maine. I'm now a few weeks away from bringing in a rice harvest on an otherwise marginal piece of land.
Esme Hughes
Feb 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is probably my #1 go-to book now when people ask me for homestead/permaculture book recommendations. I learned a lot from reading this, and it's given me some really good ideas for further development. ...more
Oct 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book gives a great overview of the different activities of the homestead, from the initial stages of site assessment, design practices, and earthworks and site preparation, to energy strategies for shelter, nutrient flows and food crop selection, and the development of health through nutrition and activity selection. It digs into detail on a number of key points common to the region of the site, including the gathering of firewood and the insulation of buildings in wet climates. In other ca ...more
Aug 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book is one of the most easy to read and enjoyable non fiction works I've read in some time. I sat down one afternoon and wanted to gobble up all the great information as fast as I could. Besides being well organized and written clearly, it features beautiful pictures and succinct graphs. It isn't a introduction book nor is it written for dummies. It assumes the reader is educated and has some basic information on permaculture, agriculture, or similar field. However, it is approachable for ...more
Andrew Block
Nov 16, 2020 rated it liked it
This book is to homesteading what interior design is to construction. It lays out plans, provides lots of information on aesthetic choices, and inspires lots of good ideas. The problem is, eventually you have to actually build this stuff, and the book goes into very little technical detail. I don't really feel any more confident in my home farming skills after reading this book than I did before. ...more
Diana Par-due
Jun 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is incredible. It's extremely educational without being dry and I found the whole concept very inspiring. My own journey with homesteading is very different but weirdly enough, though I'm halfway across the country, I am also in zone 6 so it was neat to see what he was doing in zone 6 that I never thought possible. ...more
Nick Woodall
I loved this book! It's about a guy who bought a farm and was only going to stay there a couple of years. He is now 10 years into it, and it documents his journey on this particular piece of land. He built rice paddies, lots of trees, a house, raises animals, fruit crops, garden crops, and more. Lots of pictures and charts. Very, very informative. ...more
John Szarowski
Dec 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Terrific book. It's hard to find permaculture information applicable to my area, so I was excited to find this. It's very inspiring, and we have big plans for our five acre. This book gave me a great grounding in the knowledge I need... Now it's just about finding the time and money! ...more
Sep 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
New things learnt - much reinforced, some great new ideas. Motto as per ending - just try stuff!
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Really inspiring and practical book. While I may not be in the ideal place to grow my own rice, I still found it interesting to read about Ben Falk's experiments with growing it in Vermont.
Here's someone who's actively practising permaculture - permanent culture, permanent agriculture - ways of living that can be sustained long term. And documenting it for his own knowledge and for others.
The experiments and experiences Falk outlines are really useful and interesting for anyone from the home g
Finished this fantastic book months ago, and have slacked on checking in partly just to draw out the inevitability of its end. Good thing I will be able to go back and re-read it!

Seriously though, whether you are a homesteader or amateur farmer looking for an encyclopedia / guidebook, or just a person like myself who dabbles in gardening and agriculture and wants to learn more about traditional practices, this book is worth the read. Author Ben Falk is an incredible writer, and weaves into this
Mar 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
Far from complete, this book provides a smattering of high concept permaculture ideals, mixed in with extremely anecdotal “here is what happened when I planted this” stories. The hodgepodge is quite useful, if not thorough. That is doubly true if you live in New England or hilly/rocky zone 4. Most of the book is tailored to that climate. Lots of the high concept parts of the book bordered on “preachy”. The author is a typical Green Guy: against most forms of energy production, against eating ani ...more
Aug 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
An especially important book for New England homesteaders, gardeners, and small-scale farmers. Falk’s Whole Systems Research Farm above the Mad River in central Vermont has a climate and topography similar to what many of us in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and parts of Massachusetts and New York experience. Falk goes into some depth concerning rice-growing, pond- and swale-making and earthworks in general, fertility harvesting (urine and humanure, cover cropping, scything, fungi), perennial cr ...more
Aaron Adamson
May 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book casts a beautiful vision of a more sustainable and resilient future, from an individual to a global scale. It is based on solid science throughout, with a very pragmatic emphasis on doing what can be done in the short term, and focusing on what works in the long term, with a minimum of dogma. What’s more, it continually emphasizes a provocatively hopeful message: through regenerative design, we can simultaneously improve our own lives, our community, and our world.

It should be noted th
Sep 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a profound book. The last few pages where Falk discusses why he homesteads are nothing short of poetic—just so powerful. Overall this is an extremely informative book, Falk knows an impressive amount about a wide range of topics involved in homesteading (think everything from landscape design to ecology to carpentry) and incorporates all of it at the right time. The depth of experience he provides the reader access to facilitates a learning experience unlike anything I’ve encountered in a t ...more
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm fairly familiar with the general literature on permaculture and never actually left a review before but in this case I felt like I had to. Despite covering the basics I've found a bunch of invaluable insights in the book, put forward in a clear and articulate manner and connected to the author's hands-on experience. I only regret he doesn't live in the Mediterranean climate so I could take advantage of certain concrete examples mentioned in the book
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
If I was a full time homesteader with some acreage and some animals to work with I this would be a great resource for me. The author's climate is close enough to mine that many of the same ideas would work in my region and There is a lot of great information in this book. Probably one that is worth owning and taking some time with. You cannot possibly implement all these ideas within one season. The only permaculture book I know of that demonstrates growing rice in North America. ...more
This book gets a little “out-there” for me with the peak-oil fears (should you use gas to plan for a future without gas is a philosophical question I never before faced) and humanure/pee on plants approaches. But as a study in making a piece of land your own and stewarding it well, it was a welcome thought-exercise. I wish there were books like this on the climate in which I live. I loved the ending truth of realizing his love for the tree apart from the provision of the first apple.
Fabio TurboLangs
Oct 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Astonishing to say the least. Complete, articulated, reasonable, passionate: I'd made it compulsory for any human being and alien living in the galaxy.
Ben focuses on the environment more familiar to him: that of cold, northeastern USA. And yet, he offers plenty of advice for anyone anywhere on earth.
Scott Lupo
Apr 18, 2022 rated it it was amazing
A complete look at a working homestead and farm in Vermont. This book is full of relevant and pertinent information on creating and maintaining a whole systems (permaculture) homestead in a cold weather environment. I would love to visit some day, especially since this book has been written almost a decade ago.
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If you're overwhelmed by all the Permaculture literature out there and you're not sure where to begin, this book is the perfect place to start. Along with Gaia's Garden, this is a great all encompassing introduction to permaculture system thinking and acting ...more
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A dense text rich with ideas and the science to back them up. I will need to revisit this when I am planning a future homestead. Recommend wholeheartedly to anyone interested in permaculture or "green living." ...more
Mark McNamara
Nov 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Lot of good valuable information but not as much practical implementation information. Could be that I am too new to homesteading and permaculture will definitely reread. Also a lot of Doomsday preachy content.
Andrew Galster
Dec 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Distills the somewhat high-minded ethos of permaculture into a very relatable message of sustainability. I love the discussion of the practicalities vs the philosophy - so this was a great introduction to the topic through the lens of the farm/homestead.
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