Our Bright Future #6: Ben Falk – Becoming Resilient as the World Shifts: Growing our Food, Creating an Independent Homestead, and Regenerating Our Land and Food Systems

Ben Falk

“Our Bright Future” Session #6
Featuring Special Guest: Ben Falk
(Replay available below)

(NOTE: This conversation took place on November 12th, 2020, but if you want to watch the replay, please use the “Join Us” link at the bottom of the page to register after which you will be given the YouTube rewatch link. All conversations in the “Our Bright Future” series are accessible on a “pay what you want” basis, so we invite you to inquire within yourself as to what you feel this content is worth to you and then, to share that with us as an exchange. Thank you & enjoy!)

“Sometime in the early twenty-first century, the systems that had concentrated wealth in the hands of the few–the same systems that had become the most dominant social-organizing systems on the planet–began to slowly become unhinged.

A few generations of accumulating instability from the system’s sheer scale and depth of injustice will at some point, as it always has historically, overwhelm the system’s capacity to contain its own fallout.

What if the same cultural process that stimulated the social-justice and green causes coalesced into a massive force and began to replace consumer society itself with a society of producers based in decentralized, egalitarian, human-scaled, smaller units of organization? What if crises stimulated this process out of necessity? This shift is beginning to happen…”

— Ben Falk

In recent months, as many of the systems and structures we had taken for granted have been called into question or directly threatened, there has been a rising interest, in our community and others, for greater self-sufficiency, in our homes and local communities.

Growing our own food, and being self-sufficient in this way especially, tops the list of most urgent and pressing concerns. Right next to that, is having an off-grid, sustainable shelter, with its own power and water sources.

Many of us have lived in cities, directly dependent on imports from often distant farms and countries across the world to meet our basic food needs. We rely on government and companies connected to it to meet our power and water needs. Most of us have known intuitively for some time that this dependency was not wise, efficient, or in line with nature — but we have largely continued because we became reliant on these systems, and didn’t have the skills to meet these needs ourselves.

Ben Falk was among the leaders who realized early on that this setup was doomed to fail us, as individuals and as communities, and dedicated his life to proving we can do something about it. As you can hear about in his TEDx talk, Ben grew up amid suburban sprawl in the American 1970s and 80s – a time at which a nation of gardeners “paved over its natural landscape” and began outsourcing its survival. He grew up in a standard, suburban American neighborhood replete with lawns that took lots of resources (time, energy, and water) to maintain with no reciprocal exchange, no production in return. He went to college, and began to learn what was wrong with these systems. He knew that he needed to be part of the solution.

So, when he got out of school, he purchased a fairly standard, unforgiving piece of land in Vermont, and used permaculture principles to turn it into a biodiverse, thriving, productive, and human-supporting ecosystem. For 17 years, he has been building this system, testing high-yield, regenerative food and energy practices on his land, the Whole Systems Research Farm (WSRF) and homestead, and teaching others how to develop their own self-sustaining homesteads, farms, and schools fit for a challenging future, and replete with beauty, biodiversity, abundant resources, and reciprocity.

Key to creating a positive legacy while adapting to rapid change, Ben says, are the principles of regeneration and resiliency. Regeneration, he says, involves seeing things as they could be, while resiliency requires dealing with things as they are. Our food survival systems must be both regenerative and resilient. We must meet our basic needs AND enhance the health and productivity of our land and home ecosystem, for long term survival and thriving.

Ben has proven through his own experience and investment — in himself, his land, and his community — that we each can do this. We can support ourselves by caring for and entering into a loving, reciprocal relationship with the land, and we can see fruits of our labor and love beyond our wildest dreams.

We can feel it in our bones–this way of living in harmony with the land, and in exchange with our local communities, is the way of the future. And it is exactly what we need right now, as our world changes rapidly at a pace beyond anything we have experienced in our lifetimes.

In this both visionary and highly practical conversation, we will cover with Ben:

  • Why are our current systems of food production failing? Why can we no longer go on this way? Where are the threats to our survival based on the current dependencies?
  • What will rise to take its place? How do we build resilient and regenerative systems of food production that support ourselves and our communities to live in abundance?
  • What are the key features of Ben’s Whole Systems Research Farm? How did he transform a “beat-up old Vermont hill farm” into a “highly biodiverse and productive, human-supporting ecosystem”?
  • What actions can we take today to, as Ben says in his book, “harness the transition away from a consumer society that belittles our own humanity to an organizing force that fosters individual empowerment?”
  • How does one get started with a piece of land to build a resilient, self-sufficient homestead? What should one look for in terms of land and surrounding community?
  • What are the first steps to take to grow food to support yourself and your family? What are key things to know and do heading into the upcoming winter in terms of food storage and conservation?
  • What are the most important things to focus on now in becoming adaptive and resilient in the face of the changes now underway in our world and societies? What are the first steps toward a resilient, self-sustaining lifestyle?

As always, this “Our Bright Future” talk is a “pay what you wish” event. Half of all funds collected will go directly to Ben, to support his work. You can watch live or watch the replay at a later time. Sign up to join below!

To Join Us…

Along the lines of exploring a new way of exchanging value, we are piloting a new payment process – specifically, allowing you to pay whatever you want for this conversation (any amount over $0.01 works for our payment processor). We are very excited for this, as it feels like a congruent method for us both to keep our platform open to all who are drawn to the information shared, without the classic payment wall, and also honor our, and our guest’s, time and energy given in devotion of the truth and sharing that with as many as possible.

All of the monies received for this conversation will be split 50/50 with our guest – which is our policy for all co-creations in this new series. Once you register, you will be taken to a page containing the YouTube link where the live conversation (and replay) will be held.

Thank you, and we hope you will join us!

  • Please bookmark the YouTube link where the broadcast will be held live (this will be shared with you once your registration is complete). If you have any questions or problems with this, please contact us right away.
  • If you cannot attend live, you will still be able to watch after the fact via the live link (which becomes the rewatch link after).
  • Please confirm your time zone beforehand – this conversation will take place at 1:30p pacific/4:30p eastern time on Thursday, November 12th (click here to convert to your local time zone).

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