Public Presentations & Workshops

Please visit Ben Falk's Youtube channel for some of his talks. A good sample talk is Ben's TED Talk given in 2013.

"Your talk was packed with more valuable information per minute than any talk I've been to in a long time."  ~Brian Tokar, after a Bioneers Presentation by Ben Falk

"Ben Falk was fascinating.  By far the best speaker I saw at the conference; my only complaint is that his lecture ended too soon."  ~NOFA VT Conference Attendee

"It is such a pleasure to hear you present and to see the arc of your communicating become so effective... your clear mind and freshness always conveyed but you have ease and accessibility even as you present content density." ~Mari Omland and Laura Olsen, Green Mountain Girls Farm



For engaging Ben in an event please
email him.  


"Encyclopedic and charismatic. Inspirational and artistic." ~John Paul Learn, NY

"This was a great example of someone doing something real and not just reporting on a theory. Very encouraging to see this work in progress." ~ NOFA MA Conference Attendee

Ben Falk, M.A.L.D. presents on resiliency, transition, permaculture food systems, regenerative land development, homestead security and emergency preparedness, food security, and post-oil, climate change adaptability topics to a variety of audiences ranging from horticulture-focused professsional venues to transition town community initiatives to schools. Some of Ben's older public presentations are listed below.  Ben also speaks with corporate, institutional and non-profit groups to help galvanize and form common vision around sustainability and regeneration or resiliency initiatives in those organizations.  See feedback about his presentations and workshops on the Testimonials Page.  His talks range from keynote speaking (such as Maine's Common Ground Fair recent keynote) on resiliency and regeneration (going beyond sustainability) to focused workshops and smaller-audience lectures (such as his recent sold out talk and book signing in Boston to architects and design professioanls).   

As of 2013 Ben's talks will be sometimes updated on the WSD facebook page.  Email design@wholesystemsdesign.com if you'd like to know more. Ben keeps an active speaking schedule with about one venue per month, but is not updating this page anymore. 

Please visit his Youtube channel for some of his talks. A good sample talk is Ben's TED Talk given in 2013.

2012

COMING FULL CIRCLE: Cultivating Resilience in a time of Transition: Keynote speech  Springfield, MA. The 18th Annual Ecological Landscaping Association Conference & Eco-Marketplace March 7 and 8, 2011 -- MassMutual Center, 

Canadian Green Building Society - Permaculture and the Built Environment

Rhode Island School of Design.  Biomimicry in Action.

NOFA VT -Resilient Food Systems: A Case Study 8 Years In.  University of Vermont.  Take a virtual tour of the food systems in development at the Whole Systems Research Farm in the Mad River Valley in this workshop by Ben Falk.  These systems include terrace, pond, swale and paddy cropping, nutteries, intensive rotational grazing, integrated tree, berry and grazing systems, mushroom production, fuelwood hedges, rapid soil formation and nutrient dense soil enhancements. The farm is designed and managed to be adaptive to increased flood events, drought, heat and cold, pests, wind, snow and ice, increased resource costs, and environmental toxicity.  Come see how one farm actually benefitted from tropical storm Irene and will be adaptive to the numerous other climate bumps yet to come. Ben researches and develops new cropping and resilient human habitat systems fit for the challenges of peak oil, climate change and economic insolvency at the Whole Systems Research Farm and works with homesteaders, farmers, schools and communities via his design and development firm Whole Systems Design, LLC.

NOFA VT -Rice for Cold Climates.   University of Vermont.  Rice feeds more people than any crop in the world.  It is the only grain that has been produced sustainably for thousands of years on the same land.  Join pioneering homesteaders and farmers, Ben Falk and Erik Andrus, in an overview of two varied approaches to growing rice in Vermont's two primary land types: sloping poor-soil hill farmland and bottomland deep-soil agricultural land.  Erik and Ben will discuss how they are successfully producing a staple that can yield 5,000 pounds per acre perpetually. This workshop will inspire new thinking about flood and drought resilient agriculture.   Ben researches and develops new cropping and resilient human habitat systems fit for the challenges of peak oil, climate change and economic insolvency at the Whole Systems Research Farm in the Mad River Valley. Erik Andrus farms with draft horses on an Addison County clayplain farm, and is interested in contemporary applications of traditional technologies. 

Building Energy 2012 - Working With Living Communities Boston, MA.  4:00 PM - 5:30 PM Wednesday, March 7, Cityview 2.  What does it take to create healthy communities culturally, economically and ecologically? We will examine inspiring case studies where human communities and natural communities are interacting and successfully building on one another. We will show tools for working with living systems, including innovative forms of agriculture and place regeneration. We will learn what working with living systems teaches us about creating community while engaging with both the natural world and the built environment.

 

2011

Systems and Species: A Peak-Oil Homestead Example

Thursday, July 28th  5pm-7pm

Whole Systems Research Farm – Moretown

Get an up close tour of the systems and plant/animal species used in converting 10 degraded acres of hillside into a resilient small farm/homestead. Ben Falk shares the systems implemented at Whole Systems Research Farm, including: rice paddies, fuelwood hedges, grazing-perennial plant integration, aquaculture/ponds, swale earthworks, high-performance buildings, soil decompaction, terraquaculture/fertigation, edge species, mushrooms, and more.  Ben is a land planner, site developer and homesteader operating Whole Systems Design, LLC, a permaculture design and land development firm in Moretown.

$10 for NOFA-VT members, $20 non-members.  Pre-registration is required.

 

Homestead Resiliency Strategies: Permaculture in Practice – Ben Falk  

 June 11th: 3:30 pm at the Village Building Convergence of Transition Town Montpelier

A report on the Whole Systems Design Research Farm, 7 years in. See the systems and species used in converting 10 degraded acres of hillside into a resilient small farm/homestead. Systems include: rice paddies, fuel wood hedges, grazing-perennial plant integration, aquaculture/ponds, swale earthworks, high-performance buildings, soil decompaction, terraquaculture/fertigation, edge species, mushrooms, more.

 

2010

8.15.10
Degraded Lands Restoration: Farming the Other 90% of the Landscape
NOFA Summer Conference
We’ll view and discuss agricultural strategies that utilize radical soil building and perennial cropping techniques for reinhabiting degraded New England hillsides, including: perennial cropping, mushroom mulching, fish, wetland cropping, swale-mound on contour planting, fuelwood hedges.

 

3.19.10
Post Oil Land Use & New Commons: Intensive Community Food and Fuel Systems in a Reinhabited Village Landscape
Plant and Soil Science Spring 2010 Seminar Series


3.13.10
From Exterior Decoration to Edible Landscape: Homes fit for Peak Oil and Climate Change
Green Living Show - VT Nursery and Landscape Association

2.14.10
Homestead Security: Resilient Responses in Unstable Times
NOFA VT Winter Conference at UVM


 

2009

10.29.09
Vermont's Future Past: 21st Century Land Use and the New Commons
Big Picture Theater, Waitsfield Vermont

6.27.09
Re-skilling for Post-0il Communities
Upper Valley Transition Town Event, White River Junction

6.4.09
Whole Systems Design Case Studies
Northeast Permaculture Convergence

2.14.09
Life After Cheap Oil: Tools and Techniques of the Great Transition
Northeast Organic Farming Conference 

2.4.09
Climate Change & Peak Oil: Post Petroleum Landscape Design
NE Grows Exposition - Boston 

1.11.09 - 1.23.09
Raising the Bar on Sustainable Design: Designing for Beauty and Sustainability
Yestermorrow Design Build School

Yestermorrow Permaculture, Forest Gardening and Other Course Visits to Deans Mountain Site


2008

4.25.08 - 3.21.08

Beyond Sustainability—Creating Regenerative Schools
This workshop will examine how schools can create campuses that look beyond sustainability towards schools that are resilient and regenerative in the face of complex and rapidly changing ecological, social and economic conditions. How can schools become integral in the regeneration of our environment and communities? Through the creation of leaders, knowledge and best practice, the building of soils, restoration of critical habitat and wetlands and production of energy, independent schools have a tremendous opportunity, and responsibility, to contribute to restoring equilibrium to out-of- balance ecological, economic and social systems. Bringing the parts together to make the whole is a key concept in developing strategies for sustainable schools of the future. In this workshop we build a bridge between the facilities on our campuses and the curriculum and educational mission and philosophy at our schools.


3.19.08 - 3.21.08
Design for Climate Change
Comprehensive responses to climate change require the development of resilient biological and built systems that are adaptive in the face of shifting of climatic influences. While most discussion today focuses on reducing the rate of Earth's climatic change, little attention is being given to the design and development of buildings and landscapes that can support human livelihood across wide climatic variations. This course highlights strategies for creating integrated building and landscape systems that can function in an age of climate extremes; longer droughts, hotter summers, colder winters, higher winds, increased pests, heavier precipitation events, and other patterns that will test our ability to thrive in a place. Major topics covered include microclimate design, water systems, food systems and architectural strategies. This course taught in collaboration with Buzz Ferver. Visit Yestermorrow for more information and to register.

 

Yestermorrow Permaculture, Forest Gardening and Other Course Visits to Deans Mountain Site


2007

8.11.07 - 8.24.07
University of Vermont Permaculture Course in August (PDF): A 3 Credit Environmental Studies and Plant/Soil Science sponsored course in regenerative land-use and temperate climate settlement strategies. Visit UVM's summer course website for registration.

6.7.07 – 6.9.07
Biofuel Energy Systems
Yestermorrow Design-Build School
View Gallery

1.4.07 – 1.19.07
Permaculture Design Course (PDF) – 2 Weeks
The Island School – Eleuthera, Bahamas
View Gallery


2006

11.3.06
Microclimate Landscape Design (270k PDF)
Harvard University, Arnold Arboretum
View Course Presentation (Abridged, 880Kb PDF)

10.27.06 – 10.30.06
Biofuel Energy Systems
Yestermorrow Design-Build School

7.25.06
Teal Farm Mushroom Inoculation Workshop
View Gallery

6.17.06
Permaculture Site Design
Vermont Earth Institute

5.13.06 – 5.15.06
Biofuel Energy Systems
Yestermorrow Design-Build School

1/06 to 4/06
Ecological Landscape Design: ENVS 295, 3 credits (650k PDF)
University of Vermont

2.11.06
Biofuels and Straight Vegetable Oil
NOFA Winter Conference


2005

9.23.05 – 9.25.05
Biofuel Energy Systems 800k PDF
Bullock Brothers Permaculture Center

8.7.05 – 8.12.05
Summer Camper Design – Build
Windsor Mountain (formerly Interlocken) International Summer Camp

7.22.05 – 7.24.05
Vegetable Oil Diesel Conversion Workshop
Renewable Energy Vermont and Solarfest

6.25.05
Native Building Materials Workshop
Vermont Earth Institute

6.20.05
Biofuels and a More Local Economy
Yestermorrow Summer Lecture Series, hardened home, resiliency speaker, emergency preparedness, home security.