An innovative permaculture and whole systems design approach.
With practical information on landshaping, water security, perennial crops, soil fertility, nutrient-dense food, and more, it 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 farmers as unworthy farmland. The book covers nearly every strategy Falk and his team have been testing at the Whole Systems Research Farm over the past decade, as well as experiments from other sites Falk has designed through his off-farm consulting business. The book includes detailed information on earthworks; gravity-fed water systems; species composition; the site-design process; site management; fuelwood hedge production and processing; human health and nutrient-dense production strategies; rapid topsoil formation and remineralization; agroforestry/silvopasture/grazing; ecosystem services, especially regarding flood mitigation; fertility management; human labor and social-systems aspects; tools/equipment/appropriate technology; and much more, complete with gorgeous photography and detailed design drawings. More than just a book of tricks and techniques for regenerative site development, it offers actual working results in living within complex farm-ecosystems based on research from the "great thinkers" in permaculture, and presents a viable home-scale model for an intentional food-producing ecosystem in cold climates, and beyond. A gorgeous case study for the homestead of the future. 2014 American Horticultural Society book award winner. Softcover; 320 pp.
Ben Falk, MALD, developed Whole Systems Design, LLC, as a land-based response to biological and cultural extinction and the increasing separation between people and elemental things. Life as a designer, builder, ecologist, tree-tender, and backcountry traveler continually informs Ben's integrative approach to developing landscapes and buildings. His home landscape and the WSD studio site in Vermont's Mad River Valley serve as a proving ground for the innovative land developments featured in the projects of Whole Systems Design. Ben has studied architecture and landscape architecture at the graduate level and holds an M.A. in Landscape Design. He has taught design courses at the University of Vermont and Harvard's Arnold Arboretum, and has also taught permaculture design, microclimate design, and design for climate change. He recently served on the board of directors at the Yestermorrow Design/Build School, where he also teaches from time to time.