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About Toby Hemenway
Toby Hemenway is the author of Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, which for the past six years has been the world's best-selling book on permaculture, a design approach based on ecology for creating sustainable landscapes, homes, communities, and workplaces. He has been an adjunct professor in the School of Graduate Education at Portland State University, Scholar-in-Residence at Pacific University, and a biologist consultant for the Biomimicry Guild. He teaches, consults, and lectures on permaculture and ecological design throughout the US and other countries. His writing has appeared in magazines such as Natural Home, Whole Earth Review, and American Gardener. He lives in Sebastopol, California, where he is developing sites and resources for urban and small-town sustainability.
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"Gaia's Garden will be recorded in history as a milestone for gardeners and landscapers. . . An amazing achievement."--Paul Stamets
The classic book about ecological gardening--whatever size your garden--with over 250,000 copies sold!
"A great book!"--Men's Journal
Gaia’s Garden has sparked the imagination of home gardeners the world over by introducing a simple message: working with nature, not against her, results in more beautiful, abundant, and forgiving gardens.
Many people mistakenly think that "ecological gardening"—which involves growing a wide range of edible and other useful plants—can take place only on a large, multiacre scale. As Hemenway demonstrates, it’s fun and easy--even for the beginner--to create a “backyard ecosystem” by assembling communities of plants that can work cooperatively and perform a variety of functions, including:
- Building and maintaining soil fertility and structure
- Catching and conserving water in the landscape
- Providing a rewilded and biodiverse habitat for beneficial insects, birds, and animals
- Growing an edible “forest” that yields seasonal fruits, nuts, and other foods
This revised and updated edition also features a chapter on urban permaculture, designed especially for people in cities and suburbs who have very limited growing space. Whatever size yard or garden you have to work with, you can apply basic permaculture principles to make it more diverse, more natural, more productive, and more beautiful. Best of all, once it’s established, an ecological garden will reduce or eliminate most of the backbreaking work that’s needed to maintain the typical lawn and garden.
Permaculture is more than just the latest buzzword; it offers positive solutions for many of the environmental and social challenges confronting us. And nowhere are those remedies more needed and desired than in our cities. The Permaculture City provides a new way of thinking about urban living, with practical examples for creating abundant food, energy security, close-knit communities, local and meaningful livelihoods, and sustainable policies in our cities and towns. The same nature-based approach that works so beautifully for growing food—connecting the pieces of the landscape together in harmonious ways—applies perfectly to many of our other needs. Toby Hemenway, one of the leading practitioners and teachers of permaculture design, illuminates a new way forward through examples of edge-pushing innovations, along with a deeply holistic conceptual framework for our cities, towns, and suburbs.
The Permaculture City begins in the garden but takes what we have learned there and applies it to a much broader range of human experience; we’re not just gardening plants but people, neighborhoods, and even cultures. Hemenway lays out how permaculture design can help towndwellers solve the challenges of meeting our needs for food, water, shelter, energy, community, and livelihood in sustainable, resilient ways. Readers will find new information on designing the urban home garden and strategies for gardening in community, rethinking our water and energy systems, learning the difference between a “job” and a “livelihood,” and the importance of placemaking and an empowered community.
This important book documents the rise of a new sophistication, depth, and diversity in the approaches and thinking of permaculture designers and practitioners. Understanding nature can do more than improve how we grow, make, or consume things; it can also teach us how to cooperate, make decisions, and arrive at good solutions.