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