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How to build resilience in your life in a rapidly changing world, with Ben Falk of Whole Systems Design

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My guest today is someone I’ve followed and looked up to since I first began to learn about permaculture and homesteading. Ben Falk is not only a badass homesteader and self-sufficiency pioneer, he’s also an accomplished designer and consultant, primarily through his company Whole Systems Design. For years I’ve even had a video tour of his property in Vermont saved on my computer that I watch from time to time as inspiration for what can be done on a small degraded plot if you take the time to observe the context and patterns of the place and are not afraid to fail in your experiments. 

Photo by Jeb Wallace-Brodeur Ben Falk, founder of Whole Systems Design, holds bundles bundles of short grain brown rice grown in terraced rice paddies at his research farm in Moretown.

Ben  is also the author of The Resilient Farm and Homestead, a comprehensive manual for developing durable, beautiful, and highly functional human habitat systems fit to handle an age of rapid transition. With that description I knew Ben would be the right person to speak to about the need for resilient living systems in this time of unprecedented upheaval in our global society. 

In this interview, we break down the elements that have to be in place for a system to be considered resilient as well as the essential things that someone has to understand before they can start to interact with their land in a beneficial way. Ben also talks about some of the practical aspects of homestead living such as what he’s found to be the best “bang for your buck” enterprises and time investments which include some surprisingly simple and basic things. We even cover resilience at the community level and dig out some essential advice from Ben’s years working with clients to build their own systems and what considerations people often overlook when they first get started. Though I spoke with Ben before much of the pandemic lockdown had started in the US, this interview has turned out to be very timely for the huge surge in interest all around the world from people looking to reclaim independence from the global economic system and reclaim more self reliance in reaction to seeing how fragile our support systems really are. A renewed interest in everything from growing your own food garden to repairing common household appliances has grown as more people recognize that there is real value in knowing how to provide for your most basic requirements and being able to care for the needs of your community. 

In the meantime, I hope all of you are staying safe and healthy in this difficult time of epidemic. My best wishes to all of you and your families.

Resources:

http://www.wholesystemsdesign.com/

https://www.youtube.com/user/wholesystems

https://www.facebook.com/ben.falk.14

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