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Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department of Integrated Science and Technology
This paper discusses ideas for harmony on 100 acres in mid-eastern New York. Problems leading to this research include the depletion of resources from irresponsible energy use and profit-driven industrial agriculture; dependency on fossil fuels and centralized energy; and lack of connection between people within communities, with their environment, and with sources of food and water. It is feared that sustainable, resilience building practices that nourished generations throughout history are being neglected. This specific application provides depth and concreteness to the discussion and planning process. Resources including books, maps, reports, and periodicals were integrated to select the site and plan the layout of the homestead. The outcome is a place where an extended family could meet as many of their needs as possible while improving resources. Instead of depleting resources the intention is to strengthen them with responsible management. Recommendations include reduced dependency on high-technology and fossil fuels. Soils may be nurtured with amendments, reestablished nutrients, and growth of healthy microbes instead of continuously being plowed, planted, and treated with chemicals. Multi-tiered gardens of perennial trees and shrubs provide varieties of food and materials throughout the year. Home or community scale energy projects can be developed. Through adequate design and practice, energy needs can be reduced to a level that is possible to maintain from the site or local community. Renewable construction, extensive insulation, passive solar heating, traditional food preparations, as well as polyculture plant and animal husbandry can be combined to create a living system that cycles nutrients with itself and neighbors, instead of producing waste. The conclusions of the author are that corporate agribusinesses, energy companies, and the debt-economy should be broken-up to establish local trade. Families should be kept together, not spending what they do not have, and learning how to love the environment that provides them with sustenance. Hope should not be placed on salvation through ever higher technology or through political or economic gimmicks. Sustainable husbandry produces benefits by attention and anticipation toward natural systems that already work together with the power to move mountains yet the gentleness to heal wounds.
Kramer, Christopher William, "The homestead: Revisited" (2010). Masters Theses. 426.