41. Homestead Resilience in an Era of Uncertainty - Interview with Ben Falk of Whole Systems Design


Why do we choose to swim against the current of modern civilization in this era of rapid change?


That’s a question that each of us, individually, will have to answer for ourselves. And that answer is liable to change, perhaps dramatically, as we venture further down the path back to nature and uncover hard-earned knowledge about ourselves and our place in the universe.

Ben Falk, a permaculture-oriented land designer and site planner who runs the Vermont-based company Whole Systems Design, says his position has shifted over time.

“I’ve moved away from the idea of trying to ‘survive.’ The big goal isn’t me surviving… I’m doing it to have a better life, and improve a place. I’m not trying to survive forever.”

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Ben on the topic of homesteading, and he was generous enough to share a mountain of practical info and advice for folks all across the spectrum of experience living close to the land.

“We’re cultivating an ecosystem that’s great for all living things here, and we just try to live on the byproducts of that ecosystem… we’re living on the interest.”

Ben’s 2013 book The Resilient Farm and Homestead played a pivotal role at the start of my own personal homesteading journey, shedding light on a seemingly bottomless well of things I didn’t know that I didn’t know… you know?

Ben is very down-to-earth and insightful when it comes to practical self-reliance, and also really a treat to converse with. I think there’s a lot to take away from this one, no matter where you find yourself on the path back to the land!

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