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The Community-Scale Permaculture Farm

The D Acres Model for Creating and Managing an Ecologically Designed Educational Center

By Josh Trought, 416 pages, Chelsea Green Publishing, $40.

Book Review by George Harvey

The Community-Scale Permaculture Farm is a resource book for anyone who wants to understand or practice permaculture. While it is aimed at practice at the community scale its value is certainly not limited to that. The underlying philosophy of permaculture, its scientific logic, its formidable ethics, and its passionate concern for everything in nature are truly boundless in application.

This book tells the story of a permaculture farm started in 1997 in a tiny New Hampshire village. Since that time, D Acres has been an ongoing research program, investigating better ways of doing things with both soil and things that life on it. As such, the farm has become a learning center, where those interested can discover how to apply the principles of permaculture to their own farms, gardens, and lives. In the course of that work, those who learn can apply the principles to all aspects of life, because permaculture is not limited to a practice of organic farming, its applications are much broader and holistic.

The educational resources at D Acres are not limited to gardening. They include a variety of skills ranging from metal working, wood working, and cob building to community life. That being the case, societal aspects of life are important, and these range from economics and structures of organizations to the arts.

The Community-Scale Permaculture Farm tells the history of D Acres from its start, when its author was one of the farm’s founders. It also deals with the technology of holistic, organic farming. But it is not limited to those things. It covers green appliances, green goods, and green living.

One topics dealt with in detail is transforming forested landscapes into arable land, including cooperation from such allies as the pigs. Another is getting the maximum benefits from the farm without negative impact on the ecological systems that exist within it. Since the book specifically looks at the community, it includes a look at fair and effective community governance. And, of course, it necessarily takes a look at both how we fit into the community and how the community fits into the world.

If you would like to build a solar dehydrator, you will find a discussion on that subject. The same is true if you want to build a pond. And importantly, the same is true if you want to build a community. In fact, if you want to build a better world, this book provides a great starting point. We could imagine going from permaculture communities to a permaculture world.

We are told that Josh Trought spent seven years writing The Community-Scale Permaculture Farm. Much of that effort was spent in the practice of living what he was preaching. Both the effort and the intimacy with the subject have contributed to a book worth buying, reading, and maintaining as a resource in the library.

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