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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!


Human Scale, Protected Culture, and Donut/Doughnut Day

“What we generally have, in other words, is another example of the state, having taken power into its own hands, sitting on those hands until somebody shoves it off. That minorities are protected as much as they are is due mostly to minorities; that individuals have the opportunities they have is due mostly to individuals; […] Read More

The Metabolic Approach to Cancer Release Party, Make Mead Like a Viking, Alzheimer’s Antidote

Dr. Nasha Winters and Jess Higgins Kelley enjoyed a fantastic book release party and reception at Eolus Bar and Dining and Maria’s Bookshop in Durango, Colorado this week. Here are a few photos from the event (images curtesy of PhotoDivine):   Curious? Want to know more? You can also listen to an interview with the authors […] Read More

Chelsea Green Weekly for May 19, 2017

It’s official: Lean Logic is a beautiful book. The book won the Best in Category distinction at the New England Book Show for the Professional, Non-Illustrated title. The awards recognize stand-out books for design and production. The Chelsea Green team is pretty proud of this particular title as well, and honored to receive this recognition. See the […] Read More

Chelsea Green Weekly for May 12, 2017

Books in the news this week “I tried to draw a picture of humanity thriving in the twenty-first century and — odd though it sounds — it came out looking like a doughnut. The hole in the middle is a place in which people are falling short on life’s essentials, from food and decent housing […] Read More

Chelsea Green Weekly for May 5, 2017

Ever wonder what your favorite Chelsea Green authors do between writing groundbreaking–both literally and figuratively–books? Here are the best links and resources for your weekend reading pleasure. Let’s start with The Alzheimer’s Antidote. The Alzheimer’s Antidote Amy Berger has been making the rounds on the health, wellness, and fitness circuit, explaining the theories behind her revolutionary […] Read More
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