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Hurricane Irene: The Road to Resiliency

Two years ago Hurricane Irene ravaged Vermont—displaced families, isolated communities, and washed away homes, roads and bridges.

Many communities and families are still rebuilding from the devastation caused by this powerful storm—a storm that hit Vermont harder than almost any other state.

Could much of the damage caused by Hurricane Irene—and similar storms—be prevented by implementing some basic permaculture principles on open land? Below, Ben Falk convincingly argues that point using video from his research farm taken during Hurricane Irene to show how swales can productively retain water on farmland.

Hurricane Irene and Swales at the WSRF from Ben Falk on Vimeo.

Nothing defines the nature of a place more than water. The quantity, qualities, forms, distribution, and intensity of its entry into a landscape determine nearly everything else that happens ecologically in a place,” Falk writes in his recent book The Resilient Farm and Homestead. “Though there are many physical aspects of a place, including the type of bedrock, soils, and climate, it is the play of water that most directly determines an ecosystem’s behavior and capacity for production or regeneration. Thus, the most optimal design within which to fit human activities in a place start and end with water.”

As we continue to rebuild and look for ways to become more resilient in the wake of these powerful, and unpredictable, storms, Falk urges us to consider how we can slow, spread and sink our water according to the condition, climate and needs of the landscape.

Though we cannot always accurately predict the weather, we can prepare to endure anomalies with care and consideration in our design.

August 29, 2013: Farm and Homestead Resiliency Strategies with Ben Falk
As part of their Summer Workshop Series, NOFA-VT and Ben Falk host a tour and report on the Whole Systems Design Research Farm. Register for the workshop and start preparing your pressing permaculture questions!


Happy Holidays from Chelsea Green Publishing!

Today we kick off our Holiday Sale — with 35% off every purchase at our online bookstore. Simply use the code CGS16 at checkout from now until the end of the year. Along with this great discount, we are offering free shipping on any order over $100*. Are there homesteaders or organic gardeners on your […] Read More

You won’t have a revolution if you don’t ask for one. So, what are you waiting for?

Get ready for the era of Big Organizing. In Rules for Revolutionaries, authors Becky Bond and Zack Exley lay out the 22 Rules the fueled the Bernie Sanders campaign and which provide a way forward for activists looking for ways to move forward post-Election Day. This model, which the authors call “Big Organizing” is the […] Read More

Author Nicolette Hahn Niman to Speak at Nobel Dialogue on the Future of Food

What does a former environmental lawyer and vegetarian turned cattle rancher have in common with Bob Dylan? They’ll both be — theoretically — in Stockholm in December during the Nobel Prize ceremonies. That’s right – Chelsea Green author Nicolette Hahn Niman will be one of several global opinion leaders and experts taking part in this […] Read More

We Got Trump-ed. Now What?

As the country braces for a Trump presidency, this post-election playbook points the way forward. “We can win — but only if we continue to develop the kinds of tactics, tools, and vision laid out in this vitally important book, perhaps the first to explore how to organize at the true scale of the crises […] Read More

“Rules for Revolutionaries” Offers New Political Playbook for Activists

A riveting behind-the-scenes look at the “rules” used by the “revolutionaries” who helped harness the volunteer power that fueled Bernie Sanders’ historic, and insurgent, presidential campaign. Authors Becky Bond and Zack Exley led the Sanders campaign’s efforts to recruit and engage volunteers at an unprecedented level, which was crucial to the Vermont senator capturing 46 […] Read More
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