Shortly after graduating from Conway, Ben founded Whole Systems Design, a consulting firm that provides site design and land planning services for residences, schools, camps and other educational settings. His designs anticipate a future when oil will be scarce, food will be produced locally, and communities—regardless of climate—must learn to be resilient and innovative. His work (profiled in the March 2011 issue of Landscape Architecture) includes a master plan for the 1600-acre Teal Farm–what he calls an “agricultural ecosystem.”

On a ten-acre site in the Mad River Valley of Vermont, Ben Falk is growing rice… and berry bushes, fruit and nut trees, vegetables, mushrooms and sheep. Falk has planted eight acres with 2500 plants of 250 different species, intended to provide a thriving foodscape while also enhancing the soils, hydrology, habitat and ecology of the region. He raises rice and lamb, heats water by piping it through a compost pile, and teaches classes in permaculture design.

Ben’s 2013 book, The Resilient Farm and Homestead (published by Chelsea Green), summarizes his philosophy and experience. It offers practical steps for turning even the most abused and depleted site into a multilayered productive site.

More information about Ben:  

Current vocation
Founder, Whole Systems Design, LLC.

What were you doing before you applied to the Conway School?
Working overseas as a teacher and ecological regenerationist.

What brought you to Conway?
Location, Hands-on, History

List one or more books that you find influential in the field of ecological design and/or planning.
A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander

What book changed your life?
Ishmael by Daniel Quinn