Resilient Smallholding

Resilient Smallholding is an approach to smallholding that focuses upon – indeed is driven by – concerns about resilience. What does this mean? Well, the concept of resilience concerns the capacity to bounce-back and recover after set-backs or disasters – it can refer to people who possess this characteristic, for instance, or to systems in general. It involves a robustness that enables people and organisations to not just survive, but to thrive, despite adversity.

A Resilient Smallholding, then, is a smallholding that is designed and managed in such a way that it can rebound from setbacks including: adverse weather, market and financial system problems, oil/fuel/resource-shocks, and a host of other problems. In practical terms this means addressing questions such as:

  • which livestock are more suitable for a resilient smallholding – and how are they best managed?
  • which crops should I grow? (e.g., fodder crops for livestock as well as food crops for people; perennials as well as annuals)
  • what particular varieties of crops are more resilient?
  • which crops would be more useful in a crisis?
  • how should these crops be grown to cope with too much or too little water – and other weather extremes?
  • how do I best manage fertility on my smallholding?
  • what if the fuel pumps run dry?
  • how would I deal with getting supplies in and dealing with produce in a financial crisis?

My smallholding has been developed along permaculture lines, and I am now consciously designing-in resilience to the land and operations. My approach to smallholding resilience includes use of:


Resilience and permaculture are very much foundations of the Transition Movement. If you are interested in learning about Resilient Smallholding, then consider attending one of my courses.