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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!


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It’s an eBook** summer flash sale! For one week only, all our eBooks — over 200 titles — are 50% off. It’s the perfect time to try something new or just stock-up on new books for the summer. But hurry the sale will end in a flash! eBook Flash Sale for one week only! Need […] Read More..

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Food Lover’s Guide: 25% Off ALL Food & Drink Books

Where our food comes from and how it is grown matters. Having control over our food supply is key to a more resilient and sustainable future. A major part of Chelsea Green’s mission is to inspire you with ideas and practical tips. So whether you want to make the world’s best cheese; find a new […] Read More..

Say hello to the new Chelsea Green

We’ve been quietly at work the past months building a new website from scratch. We designed it to be clean, beautiful and easy to use! Over the years you have asked for improvements and we listened with a fresh design that allows you to more easily connect with our authors, dig into our content, buy […] Read More..