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The Resilient Economy [Permaculture
Posted on November 19, 2013 @ 04:56:00 PM by Paul Meagher

Making my way through Ben Falk's permaculture book, The Resilient Farm and Homestead (2013). In today's blog I want to reflect a bit on the concept of resilience and how important it might be going forward.

Merriam Webster defines Resilience as:

The ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens.

A resilient farm, then, is one which is prepared in the event that one or more doom-and-gloom scenarios come to pass, specifically, that climate change makes the planet less inhabitable, that peak oil makes it more difficult to obtain fossil fuels, or that a financial meltdown grinds the economy to a halt. A resilient farm is one designed in such a way as to be prepared if one or more of these scenarios come to pass.

In practice this would mean things like having gravity-based access to water, becoming less dependent upon machinery to manage the land, growing your own food, stockpiling some goods that might become hard to get but essential to making life easier (e.g., chainsaw replacement parts), etc...

Many farms are heading away from resilience, becoming ever more dependent upon fossil fuels, tractors, hybrid seeds that don't produce viable seeds to plant next year, irrigation pumps, and so on. They will not be much use to us when the shit hits the proverbial fan.

It is easy to brush off the need for a resilient economy as so much end-of-the-world blabber, but I think to do so would be to potentially miss a big opportunity. Ben Falk offers landscape design and architecture services, using permaculture as his theoretical basis. He appears to be doing quite well at it. He has a growing business for a service that people desire - to develop a landscape and living arrangements that offer the possibility of becoming more resilient.

The transition movement (http://www.transitionnetwork.org) is becoming more popular with each passing year with innovation focused on developing a more resilient local economy; one that is better prepared if "something bad happens". The leader of the transition movement, Rob Hopkins, recently published a book, "The Power of Just Doing Stuff" (2013) that documents some of these resilience-oriented innovations.

Whereas Ben is focused upon making farm's more resilient, Rob is more focused on making urban environments more resilient. The transition movement is experimenting with some disruptive social innovations that threaten to radically alter how the economy works, what they call the Reconomy, which could be construed as a shorthand for the "Resilient economy". I look forward to learning more about the transition movement's latest innovations, not just out of academic interest, but because I think innovations directed at making the economy more resilient are harbingers of where the economy needs to be headed and is starting to be headed.

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