About Ben


I was born and raised in northern Vermont, in a two-room cabin situated on the 160-acre homestead my father purchased in the late 60’s. At 16, the legal age of “school leaving” in my home state, I dropped out of high school to pursue a self-designed study program in excessively loud heavy metal music and extreme partying. I began writing for magazines in my early 20’s; within two years, freelance magazine writing became my sole means of supporting myself and later, my family.

In 1997, my then-girlfriend (now wife) Penny and I purchased 40 acres in the town of Cabot, Vermont, where we now run a small-scale, diversified hill farm with our two sons, Finlay and Rye. We live in a self-built home that is powered by a windmill and solar photovoltaic panels, and tend a menagerie of animals, including cows, pigs, sheep, and chickens. We also have copious gardens, a small orchard, and a pick-your-own blueberry patch. Our focus is producing nutrient dense foods from vibrant, mineralized soils for ourselves and the immediate community.

Both of our sons are educated at home in the context of a life-learning process known colloquially as unschooling. It is our belief that contemporary, institutionalized American educational expectations create “childhood deficit disorder” and do not allow for full maturity of mind and spirit. For both our boys and ourselves, we place a strong emphasis on connection to and appreciation of nature, and allow for as much unstructured time as possible. We do not own a television.

I have written three books, am currently working on a fourth, and I still write the occasional magazine story. I am tremendously grateful to be so privileged. Thank you for your support.

kids and cow

  • "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
  • "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
  • "In this fine and eloquent and moving book, Ben Hewitt takes a principled stand for the unconventional childhood, for the intellectual and emotional and soulful nurture of nature." -- Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods and The Nature Principle
  • "Ben walks you along the lanes of his small family farm right into the heart of parenting. He does not judge the new normal of life’s fever pitch pace but fills you with the courage to follow your hopes that may well transform your family" - Kim John Payne, author of Simplicity Parenting
  • “This is a beautifully written, honest, introspective, soul-revealing, and soul-stirring account of one family’s choice to live close to nature and to allow their children to learn naturally, without school, in a self-directed manner. The book’s biggest message, I think, is that we do have choices; we can chart our own lives, we don't have to follow the crowd if we don’t want to.”—Peter Gray, Research Professor at Boston College and author of Free to Learn: How Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life.
  • "This book fills me with both sadness and joy. My sadness is for the millions of children locked in schools, looking out the windows as the precious days of childhood pass them by. My joy comes from knowing this eloquent book will inspire many to choose a different path." - Charles Eisenstein, author of Sacred Economics and The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible
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