Ben Hart

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since Nov 24, 2013
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Recent posts by Ben Hart

Andrew,

We should definitely connect sometime soon.  We are hosting a workshop with Mark Shepard this April (28-30) that is going to be almost all practice and no theory.  We will be doing a full-scale earthworks install complete with planting thousands of chestnuts, oaks, hazelnuts, and pines.  We had Mark out last September and we were blown away at how helpful he was in helping us to get our picture of a homesteading ecosytem into the ground.  If you'd like more, you can look at our website and Facebook pages here:

http://restorationagricultureworkshopnewyork.weebly.com/

https://www.facebook.com/events/1830174287245867/

As a native of the Hudson Valley, I'm stoked to see others getting into this.  We've already got a bunch of folks from the HV area signed up so I suspect there will be plenty of top-notch networking going on.

Hope that helps!

Best,
Ben
2 years ago
We are excited to be partnering with Mark Shepard to do a Restoration Agriculture Workshop, complete with Earthworks Install and mass planting of chestnuts, hazelnuts, oaks, and pine for a fully-integrated silvopasture system in Upstate NY this April.

Workshop website can be accessed here:

http://restorationagricultureworkshopnewyork.weebly.com/

And our Facebook page is updated regularly with developments here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1830174287245867/

This is Mark's first install and RAD workshop in the Northeast!
2 years ago
We recently built a passive solar home in New York.  We found that the easiest way to get around your problem was to get windows off of Craigslist, make sure we had a minimum of 10% of southern-exposed glazing to square-footage ratio (so for a 100 square foot house, you'd need a minimum of 10 square feet of southern-oriented windows), and most importantly, we had our roof line extend so as to cut us off from summer sun.  The idea is that as the sun increases its angle through the summer, the roof line will cut off the direct sunlight into the windows and it will increase as it the angle decreases in the winter.  I'm attaching a photo of the east elevation during construction.  You'll see that the south-facing roof line is longer than the North-facing roof line.  This is an elegant solution that just requires a little calculating to get the exact length of the overhang portion correct.  So it really doesn't matter what windows you use, and the more UV they let in, the better since you'll never be getting summer sun into the house anyway.
2 years ago
We are looking to start a permaculture project in New York's capital region, and we are open to going a little further east towards VT or MA (and in many ways VT is preferable). If you already own land here and want to discuss sharing options, or you want to buy a plot of land together, I am open to discussing different arrangements. We currently raise ducks, laying hens, meat birds, turkeys, sheep, goats, and pigs and would like to turn these efforts to profit within the next 2 seasons. We are native to this area and have a lot of connections that will serve to significantly reduce our infrastructure costs. In addition, we will be selling our home on 7+ acres in order to become mortgage free, so adding our nest egg to the equity we pull from that should be helpful to finance the project.

Ideally, the person/family who joins us has something to offer we lack--more farming experience, extra money, a hands-on understanding of forest gardening, etc. But even an eagerness to create a permaculture property in this area is sufficient. We have a large family, homeschool, and want to see permaculture turn into an eco-friendly and profitable way to live. If you are interested, email me at benjamin.hart1@gmail.com.

5 years ago
Jennifer,

These are all great points and convince me that I am an unreflective northeastener--doesn't everyone need to worry about the cold? So yes, you are right that it would be nice to have a larger set of examples that seek to integrate the whole package in exemplar settings that others can benefit from. Over the next few months we will be putting together a design that seeks to integrate the best of what permaculture has to offer in dwelling places in the north east US. I plan on blogging through the entire project, and to post ideas, questions, and pictures here for the community to have some input. In the meantime, I would still like to find some examples to glean from so I don't have to "reinvent the wheel."

-Ben
5 years ago
I apologize if this question has been asked before, but in the event that it hasn't, here it is: has someone tried to integrate all the goodies from the permaculture values and techniques into a viable house plan? An earth-integrated house seems like the way to go, but so does a rocket stove mass heater, a saw-dust toilet, gravity-fed water, etc. Has anyone put it all together in a template that others could benefit from?
5 years ago