Ben Falk, M.A.L.D, developed Whole Systems Design, LLC, as a land-based response to biological and cultural extinction and the increasing separation between people and elemental things. Life as a designer, builder, ecologist, tree-tender, and backcountry traveler continually informs Ben’s integrative approach to developing landscapes and buildings. His home landscape and the WSD studio site in Vermont’s Mad River Valley serve as a proving ground for the innovative land developments featured in the projects of Whole Systems Design. Ben has studied architecture and landscape architecture at the graduate level and holds master of arts in landscape design degree. He has taught design courses at the University of Vermont and Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum as well as on permaculture design, microclimate design, and design for climate change. He recently served on the board of directors at the Yestermorrow Design-Build School, where he also teaches from time to time. He is the author of The Resilient Homestead: Innovative Permaculture Systems for the Home and Farm.
Grace Gershuny, in addition to her position on the staff of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program, has worked for many years as an educator, organizer, and market gardener. She is nationally known in the alternative agriculture movement, is the author of Start With the Soil, and Compost, Vermicompost and Compost Tea: Feeding the Soil on the Organic Farm as well as co-author of The Rodale Book of Composting and The Soul of Soil. She is on the faculties of the Institute for Social Ecology and Goddard College, and lives in Barnet, Vermont.
Jeff and Melanie Carpenter own and operate Zack Woods Herb Farm in Hyde Park, Vermont. They have recently co-authored the book, The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer published by Chelsea Green.
Jeff Carpenter has farming in his blood. Descended from generations of Vermont farmers, Jeff deepened his love and understanding of plants through an apprenticeship with Rosemary Gladstar and as the co-owner of Sage Mountain Herb Products. Since those early days, Jeff’s work as a farmer, agricultural consultant, educator, and researcher has focused on the cultivation and marketing of medicinal herbs. Jeff also partners with Rosemary Gladstar in hosting the International Herb Symposium. His passion for the green world is evident as he spends his days working in the fields and in the community.
Ross Conrad learned his craft from the late Charles Mraz, world-renowned beekeeper and founder of Champlain Valley Apiaries in Vermont. Former president of the Vermont Beekeepers Association, Conrad is a regular contributor to Bee Culture—The Magazine of American Beekeeping. He has led bee-related presentations and taught organic beekeeping workshops and classes throughout North America for many years. His small beekeeping business, Dancing Bee Gardens, supplies friends, neighbors, and local stores with honey and candles, among other bee related products, and provides bees for Vermont apple-pollination in spring.
Will Allen is an organic farming visionary. He grew up on a small farm in southern California and served in the US Marine Corps. After receiving a PhD in Anthropology (focusing on Peruvian tropical forest agriculture) he taught at the University of Illinois and UC Santa Barbara before being fired and jailed for civil rights and antiwar activism. In 1972 he returned to farming full-time, and has been farming organically ever since, in Oregon, California, and Vermont, where he now co-manages Cedar Circle Farm. He founded the Sustainable Cotton Project and is a board member of the Organic Consumers Association, Rural Vermont, and co-chair of Farms Not Arms.