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The Community-Scale Permaculture Farm

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

With practical examples of alternative building, renewable energy, holistic forestry, no-till gardening, hospitality management, community outreach, and more

The Community-Scale Permaculture Farm describes not only the history of the D Acres project, but its evolving principles and practices that are rooted in the land, its inhabitants, and the joy inherent in collective empowerment.

For almost twenty years, D Acres of New Hampshire has challenged and expanded the common definition of a farm. As an educational center that researches, applies, and teaches skills of sustainable living and small-scale organic farming, D Acres serves more than just a single function to its community. By turns it is a hostel for travelers to northern New England, a training center for everything from metal- and woodworking to cob building and seasonal cooking, a gathering place for music, poetry, joke-telling, and potluck meals, and much more.

While this book provides a wide spectrum of practical information on the physical systems designed into a community-scale homestead, Trought also reviews the economics and organizational particulars that D Acres has experimented with over the years.

The D Acres model envisions a way to devise a sustainable future by building a localized economy that provides more than seasonal produce, a handful of eggs, and green appliances. With the goal of perennial viability for humanity within their ecosystem, D Acres is attempting an approach to sustainability that encompasses practical, spiritual, and ethical components. In short: They are trying to create a rural community ecology that evolves in perpetuity.

From working with oxen to working with a board of directors, no other book contains such a wealth of innovative ideas and ways to make your farm or homestead not only more sustainable, but more inclusive of, and beneficial to, the larger community. Readers will find information on such subjects as:

  • Working with pigs to transform forested landscapes into arable land;
  • Designing and building unique, multifunctional farm and community spaces using various techniques and materials;
  • Creating and perpetuating diverse revenue streams to keep your farm organization solvent and resilient;
  • Receiving maximum benefits and yields for the farm without denigrating resources or the regional ecology;
  • Implementing a fair and effective governance structure;
  • Constructing everything from solar dehydrators and cookers to treehouses and ponds; and,
  • Connecting and partnering with the larger community beyond the farm.

Emphasizing collaboration, cooperation, and mutualism, this book promises to inspire a new generation of growers, builders, educators, artists, and dreamers who are seeking new and practical ways to address today’s problems on a community scale.

Reviews and Praise

  • Publishers Weekly-

    "In this meticulously detailed book, Trought relates the lessons gleaned from 17 years of establishing and running D Acres, a nonprofit, community service–oriented farm in the challenging soil and climate of northern New Hampshire. With a serious, pedantic style more common to business books than to the cheerful permaculture genre, he provides extensive descriptions of historical precedents; local geography, geology, climate, and economy; fund-raising; marketing; and community governance and decision-making (there’s a whole chapter on meetings). In addition, there’s more-typical discussion of soil-building, animal husbandry, alternative building techniques, cottage industries, ecological integration, and community engagement. The exposition is threaded with political commentary and seasoned with a strong dose of an admirable but dauntingly earnest ethic. Despite Trought’s sincere love for his work and willingness to share abundant knowledge and experience, his somber, didactic tone may discourage budding eco-villagers still at the initial dreaming and planning stages. His lessons may be more useful and inspiring to those already ankle-deep in their own land-based community ventures.”

More Reviews and Praise

  • Booklist-

    "The word permaculture, a shorthand term fusing permanent agriculture with permanent culture, is a recent innovation based on the ecological ideal of caring for the earth and for people by reinvesting any surplus back into the system to minimize waste. Although there are still only a handful of fully functioning permaculture farms worldwide, D Acres near Dorchester, New Hampshire, serves as a role model for other communities aspiring to a high level of sustainability. In this sumptuous handbook of tools and ideas, D Acres cofounder Trought provides a comprehensive blueprint for creating an environmentally and culturally balanced community homestead and shares some of the economic and organizational experiments he and his collaborators have tried over the years. Twenty detailed chapters cover all the fundamentals of running a permaculture-based farm, from governance to budgeting and communication philosophy, as well as designing buildings, setting up water irrigation systems, and managing no-till agriculture. An immensely useful guidebook for organic farmers, cohousing advocates, and anyone interested in learning about a place where sustainability is truly possible."

  • "Josh Trought shows how society can be brought together in harmonious fashion with ecological systems to produce healthy food, close-knit communities, land stewardship, and beauty in a sustainable way. What I love most about the D Acres model is that from the start, their intent was to experiment AND share the learning. That’s exactly what this book does, describing the philosophical and historical roots of collective living and permaculture, as well as the day-to-day work of growing and building, all with clear and compelling storytelling. Nothing short of miraculous!"--Tim Traver, author of Sippewissett

  • “I haven’t been to D Acres, but The Community-Scale Permaculture Farm made me want to go. And as any good permaculture project should, this book stacks functions. It’s at once a chronicle of the reinvention of an old family property as a 21st-century enterprise, a first-hand guidebook for developing a successful community, and a useful how-to for ecological homesteading and farming. If you are doing any of those—or thinking about it—this book should be in your hands.”--Toby Hemenway, author of Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture and The Permaculture City

  • "Josh’s manual offers a wealth of practical advice that will be very useful to those adventuring in the direction that D Acres has developed over twenty years in intentional living and permaculture farming. Truly inspiring!"--Andrew Faust, founder, Center for Bioregional Living

  • "At a crucial crossroads in our history, this book chronicles a life-giving response to a society bent on self-destruction. With uncommon honesty, Josh Trought lays bare the lessons of once wide-eyed beginners, now seasoned and savvy leaders in the permaculture movement. The journey presented here is inspired and instructive, though nonformulaic and a work in progress. When the dust settles upon our epoch, what will stand out are places like D Acres, which built a living alternative to the ubiquitous, me-centered society. As readers will soon discover, it is hard work turning dreams into reality, but with Josh as your trusty guide, your body will ache for this ‘real’ work."--Jim Merkel, author of Radical Simplicity and founder of the Global Living Project

  • “Every community should be so blessed to have a permaculture learning center and demonstration farm in its midst. Josh Trought and company provide pure inspiration for learning essential earth skills. Pick up this book and you too can help people connect with the land and a sustainable way of living.”--Michael Phillips, author of The Holistic Orchard

  • "One cannot discuss sustainable agriculture without considering its community context, nor vice versa. Trought has given a lot of thought to both, and his experience and observations are well worth sharing. I've visited D Acres and been very impressed at the depth of its vision, which is clearly expressed throughout the book.”--Will Bonsall, author of Will Bonsall’s Essential Guide to Radical, Self-Reliant Gardening and Through the Eyes of a Stranger

  • "Homesteading on a hamlet scale, teaching ecological design, building for the future, and creating new family and tribal bonds in a time of dissolution, the D Acres vision sheds light on the uses of adversity to counter the centrifugal forces of our culture. With many rich vignettes and inventive solutions on offer, this book will reward careful reading."--Peter Bane, author of The Permaculture Handbook and publisher of Permaculture Activist magazine

  • “If we want people to live ecologically, get along, and heal the Earth, we need to build a local, ecological economy. Josh Trought’s detailed guide points the way to localizing where we get our basic needs and at the same time stay flexible and practical, not utopian-egalitarian. D Acres started with almost nothing, but through permaculture and perseverance, and a lot of hard knocks, it’s getting to where it’s doing everything right. The Community-Scale Permaculture Farm is not merely a model for farmers or for an education center, but for a great kind of life.”--Albert Bates, author of The Post-Petroleum Survival Guide and The Biochar Solution

  • “What a broad-minded book and thorough record of achievement for a visionary farm enterprise that takes practical steps to counter the capitalist disaster—an inspiration for the next generation of growers.”--Peter Schumann, founder of Bread and Puppet Theater

About The Author

About Josh Trought

Josh Trought helped to found D Acres of New Hampshire in 1997, and today serves as its director. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder with a degree in environmental conservation, and has worked for organizations as diverse as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Costa Rica’s Tapantí National Park. Currently he is a member of the Artistic Roots co-op in Plymouth, New Hampshire, and serves as treasurer of the Pemi-Baker Solid Waste District. His proudest accomplishments are as a participant at the Bread and Puppet Theater; at La Caravana Arcoiris por la Paz, a mobile ecovillage that traveled across Central and South America; and at D Acres, where he has specialized in forestry, construction, gardening, and administration. The primary motivation behind his life’s work is the healthy perpetuation of our species within its various, diverse ecologies.

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Books By Josh Trought

Pages:416 pages
Book Art:Full-color illustrations throughout
Size: 8 x 10 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Pub. Date: March 24, 2015
Paperback: 9781603584753

Available In/Retail Price

Paperback, 416 pages, $40.00

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