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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 ·  470 ratings  ·  39 reviews
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 conve
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ebook, 320 pages
Published May 23rd 2013 by Chelsea Green Publishing Company (first published January 1st 2013)
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Anna
Oct 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Adam
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
Melissa
Oct 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Miquela
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
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Jeff Shelnutt
May 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
David Hughes
Feb 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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.
John
Oct 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
KB
Dec 07, 2016 rated it liked it
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
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Danni
Aug 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Bre
Aug 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Diana Par-due
Jun 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
John Szarowski
Dec 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Rachael
Sep 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
New things learnt - much reinforced, some great new ideas. Motto as per ending - just try stuff!
Molly
Aug 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jocelynn
Good but I prefer books that also include a deeper intersectional analysis, awareness and celebration of ancient traditions a sort of wholeness that wasn't really there. It's a good book with lots of hard facts and information but it doesn't necessarily address the people aspect as much as I'd like and again it's fairly .... white.staight.male I mean this makes sense because that is the author but just because one is positioned in such a way doesn't mean the book has to be. :)
Megan Woodrich
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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."
Aleksandar Janković
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
Justin
Aug 30, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gardening
I liked the overall philosophy a great deal but didn't find too much actionable for me
Julie
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An absolutely fantastic resource, written in a way that you want to start at the beginning and take the journey to self-sustainability with him.
Justin
Aug 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: gardening
I liked the overall philosophy a great deal but didn't find too much actionable for me
Katie
Jan 19, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: gardening
This volume has some interesting information about creating a sustainable homestead. One of the most important things I took from the book is that you should always be willing to experiment and not just take the advice of what everyone says. The author relates many stories of plants and animals not behaving as they "usually" do in the particular environment of their Vermont farm. The book is full of good ideas and information gleaned from experiments on the farm. It is also full of plenty of per ...more
Nick Yarde
Jan 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
A good introduction to permaculture and simple homesteading. The first chapters are heavy on design and provide good information and many idea-generating ideas. The book becomes increasingly overview.

Falk's experience does draw from history better than most writings in this genre but still speaks of his plot as if what he is doing is new and inventive when very little of what he suggests is new. Similarly he speaks of a 10 acre plot as if it were a farm instead of being the garden/homestead that
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Gillian Kevern
3.5 - My stepdad recommended this to me, a complete gardening novice with an interest in permaculture, and although I enjoyed reading this book, it was a little above my level in parts. I really appreciated the detailed description of the methods the author used in his cold climate homestead, that he freely shared his mistakes as well as his knowledge, and the beautiful photographs -- Falk has created an amazing place. I especially enjoyed the section on rice growing.

I'm interested in reading s
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Audra
Jan 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An attractively designed manual/farm journal with a lot of great advice about the long-haul approach to permaculture and resilient design (think: where will I get my water if my pump breaks? How will I heat my house if the power goes out?). Falk experiments with all sorts of unusual systems: growing rice in paddies in Vermont, heating water using a giant woody compost heap, and is very honest (but also optimistic)about them being in an experimental stage. I enjoyed his lack of black and white po ...more
Dave
Sep 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is one of the most inspiring books on permaculture that I know of, especially for the northeastern U.S. All the beautiful photos of what can be done in Vermont do a great job showing how appealing this lifestyle can be. And Ben Falk is smart enough to point out that we can use our existing technology to transition more quickly and more easily to a world where it's no longer needed, and that's exactly what we should be planning for.
Daniel C Burke
Jan 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
And interesting on the idea of perma-culture and farming to its maximum potential in limited space and less than ideal conditions, while making the least use of resources that aren't on hand. Full of good ideas and insight, this is less a guide to farming so make as a guide to landscaping towards farming.
Kathy
Mar 28, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
The first few chapters were great for introducing permaculture ideas. But as I got further, it became a very laborious read. The detailed research and scientific reporting is valuable for many people, but I wasn't ready for it.
David Stanley
Jan 02, 2014 is currently reading it
Having read this book as a skip-ahead,go-to-what-you-want, review-as-you-wish sort of work; I find it hard to review. Let me instead say that, one week after checking it out from my library, I was franticly searching a copy on Amazom.com.
Noah Henne
Good information. A must have in the collection.
His enthusiasm can get a bit preachy. Like he's discovering the secret of life for you...
But can't wait to build more from this.
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“Inaction quickly consumes a lifetime. Be curious, be bold, pay close attention to the world in front of you. And start trying stuff.” 4 likes
“It is not the strongest animal that survives, nor the fastest, but the one most adaptable to change. —Leon C. Megginson, paraphrasing Charles Darwin” 0 likes
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