The Nourishing Homestead

The Nourishing Homestead : One Back-to-the-Land Family's Plan for Cultivating Soil, Skills, and Spirit

4.29 (196 ratings by Goodreads)
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A practiculture way to grow nutrient-dense food, produce healthy fats, and live the good life

The Nourishing Homestead tells the story of how we can create truly satisfying, permanent, nourished relationships to the land, nature, and one another.

The Hewitts offer practical ways to grow nutrient-dense food on a small plot of land, and think about your farm, homestead, or home as an ecosystem. Much of what the Hewitts have come to understand and embrace about their lives of deep nourishment is informed by their particular piece of land and local community in northern Vermont, but what they have gleaned is readily transferable to any place-whether you live on 4 acres, 40 acres, or in a 400-square-foot studio apartment.

Ben and Penny (and their two sons) maintain copious gardens, dozens of fruit and nut trees and other perennial plantings, as well as a pick-your-own blueberry patch. In addition to these cultivated food crops, they also forage for wild edibles, process their own meat, make their own butter, and ferment, dry, and can their own vegetables. Their focus is to produce nutrient-dense foods from vibrant, mineralized soils for themselves and their immediate community. They are also committed to sharing the traditional skills that support their family, helping them be self-sufficient and thrive in these uncertain times.

Much of what the Hewitts are attempting on their homestead is to close the gaps that economic separation has created in our health, spirit, and skills. Ben uses the term "practiculture" to describe his family's work with the land-a term that encompasses the many practical life skills and philosophies they embody to create a thriving homestead, including raw-milk production, soil remediation, wildcrafting, Weston A. Price principles, bionutrient-dense farming, permaculture, agroforestry, traditional Vermont hill farming, and more. The Nourishing Homestead also includes information on deep nutrition, the importance of good fats, and integrating children into the work of a homestead.

The Hewitts' story is reminiscent of The Good Life, by Helen and Scott Nearing, and is sure to inspire a new generation of homesteaders, or anyone seeking a simpler way of life and a deeper connection to the world.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 352 pages
  • 178 x 254 x 26mm | 862g
  • White River Junction, United States
  • English
  • Full colour throughout
  • 1603585516
  • 9781603585514
  • 297,329

Review quote

"The Nourishing Homestead is just perfect for young families embarking on a homestead way of life. Ben Hewitt's approach to (and philosophy of) homestead economics is alone worth reading the book. His views on what he defines as "real food" and "deep nutrition" might rattle the reader's brain occasionally, but all for the good. Beyond that, the rich detail of information on how to make small scale farming work successfully rings with genuine knowhow and conviction."--Gene Logsdon, author of Gene Everlasting "Nesting deeply into a farmstead requires skill, patience, and the right mindset. Sharing his insights after nearly two decades of this life, Ben Hewitt's success beckons others to follow. Are you intimidated by a non-corporate farmstead life? The Nourishing Homestead empowers anyone aspiring to such a life: yes, you can."--Joel Salatin, Farmer and Author "Inspiring and informative. A brilliant union of theory and practice."--Shannon Hayes, The Radical Homemaker "A wise, poetic, and eminently practical manifesto, The Nourishing Homestead provides all the ingredients for a nutrient-dense life. Ben and Penny Hewitt teach us how to farm, but more importantly, why to farm. In so doing, they have seeded nothing short of an agrarian revolution."--Rowan Jacobsen, author of American Terroir and Apples of Uncommon Character "If Walden were a how-to book and updated for the twenty first century, The Nourishing Homestead would be it. Whether you have land or not, are a hardcore homesteader or a suburban gardener, you'll find this book packed with countless how-to gems for personal and family liberty. The practical usefulness of this book is hard to overstate; the Hewitts have written a manual girded by direct experience alone, not ideology--a true rarity."--Ben Falk, author of The Resilient Farm and Homestead Publishers Weekly-

"This book is both the story of their bucolic life and an introductory guide to homesteading skills they've gleaned along the way. A comparison to Scott and Helen Nearing's Living the Good Life is inevitable, and the books are strikingly similar in their combination of personal narrative, practical advice from house-building to soil-building, and sermon-y philosophizing on the ills of contemporary mainstream culture. Unlike the Nearings, the Hewitts benefit from 21st-century developments like permaculture, rotational grazing, and nutrient-dense farming, and they incorporate livestock as an essential and beloved element of their farmstead-almost a third of the book is devoted to animal husbandry. Best of all, adorable photos of the Hewitts' two young sons lounging on cows, curing hides, and harvesting garlic leaven the earnest prose." Library Journal-

"Ben and Penny Hewitt have resided on a 40-acre farm in Cabot, VT, for more than 15 years and are motivated by a desire to live their lives aligned with nature and provide most of their own food, creating from the ground up a sustainable and traditional homestead. The Hewitts chronicle the development of their sanctuary in this informative title, from the initial design of their hand-built house and revitalizing the soil for crops to foraging for wild edibles, processing their own meat, and preserving produce. The belief in nourishment in all aspects-Ben calls it 'practiculture'-of their lives, including dealing with modern-day 'stuff' and raising children (two sons), creates a running thread throughout the book. Photographs and recipes all support this personal reference to dwelling closer to the land. VERDICT While it is information-dense, a conversational tone and practical tips make this text a terrific resource for homesteaders at all levels."
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About Ben Hewitt

Ben Hewitt lives in Cabot, Vermont with his wife, Penny, and sons Fin and Rye. Over the past 17 years, the Hewitt family has transformed an over-grazed pasture and neglected woodlot into a thriving homestead, producing an abundance of nutrient dense food in biologically active soils.

Utilizing a combination of permaculture design, wildcrafting, and small-scale regenerative agriculture they call "practiculture," the Hewitt family raises and forages better than 90% of their calories, with a focus on pastured meats, healthy fats, and fermented vegetables. They also produce all of their lumber and firewood, and practice traditional land skills such as hide tanning and basket making.

The Hewitts consult frequently on homestead-scale production and processing of nutrient dense foods, as well as homestead planning, design, and implementation. They also run Lazy Mill Living Arts (, which offers workshops in a wide variety of traditional land skills.

Ben is the author of four other books, including The Town That Food Saved and Home Grown. He blogs at
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Rating details

196 ratings
4.29 out of 5 stars
5 45% (88)
4 41% (80)
3 13% (25)
2 2% (3)
1 0% (0)
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