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Our Chelsea Green Authors : Toby Hemenway

Toby Hemenway

Toby Hemenway is the author of the first major North American book on permaculture, Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, and an adjunct assistant professor at Portland State University. He wrote the foreword for Heather C. Flores' Food Not Lawns.

After obtaining a degree in biology from Tufts University, Toby worked for many years as a researcher in genetics and immunology, first in academic laboratories including Harvard and the University of Washington in Seattle, and then at Immunex, a major medical biotech company. At about the time he was growing dissatisfied with the direction biotechnology was taking, he discovered permaculture, a design approach based on ecological principles that creates sustainable landscapes, homes, and workplaces. A career change followed, and Toby and his wife spent ten years creating a rural permaculture site in southern Oregon. He was associate editor of Permaculture Activist, a journal of ecological design and sustainable culture, from 1999 to 2004. His current project is developing urban sustainability resources in Portland, Oregon, where he now lives. He teaches permaculture and consults and lectures on ecological design throughout the country. His writing has appeared in magazines such as Whole Earth Review, Natural Home, and Kitchen Gardener. He is available for workshops, lectures, and consulting in ecological design.

Visit his web site at

    Toby's Upcoming Events

    • Toby Hemenway at the Jamaica Plain Forum
      6 Eliot St. , Jamaica Plain, Boston MA 02130
      February 5, 2015, 7:00 pm

      Toby Hemenway will deliver a presentation, titled, "Redesigning Civilization: Permaculture’s Vision for a Just and Sustainable World" at the First Church in Jamaica Plain on February 5th, 2015. Hemenway's presentation will run from 7-8:30 PM.

    • Toby Hemenway at New England Grows
      415 Summer Street, Boston MA 02210
      February 6, 2015, 2:00 pm

      Toby Hemenway will lead a workshop titled, "Permaculture: Principles, Design Methods, and Landscape Practices," on Friday February 6th from 2:00-3:00 PM at the New England Grows Conference at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

    • Toby Hemenway at Boston Nature Center
      500 Walk Hill Street, Mattapan MA 02126
      February 7, 2015, 9:30 am

      Toby Hemenway will lead an urban permaculture workshop at the Boston Nature Center on February 7th 2015 from 9:30- 4:30 PM. Cost to attend is $40 for members and $80 for non-members.

    • Toby Hemenway at Permaculture Voices 2015
      1380 Harbor Island Drive, San Diego CA 92101
      March 4, 2015, 12:00 pm

      Toby Hemenway will lecture on urban permaculture at this year's Permaculture Voices Conference. This conference will run from March 4-8th at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina. More details to come!

    • Toby Hemenway at Cascadia Cypherpunk Convergence
      1825 SW Broadway, Portland OR 97201-3256
      April 11, 2015, 10:00 am

      Toby Hemenway will lecture at the Cascadia Cypherpunk Convergence at Portland State University on April 11th, 2015. The convergence will run from 10-7 PM (PST) in the Smith Memorial Student Union.

    • Toby Hemenway at Northeast Permaculture Convergence
      Northeast Permaculture Convergence, Frelighsburg Quebec
      July 18, 2015, 12:00 pm

      Lecture at Northeast Permaculture Convergence, Frelighsburg, Quebec, July 18-20, 2015.

    Toby's Books

    Gaia's Garden, Second Edition

    A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture

    The first edition of Gaia's Garden sparked the imagination of America's home gardeners, introducing permaculture's central message: Working with Nature, not against her, results in more beautiful, abundant, and forgiving gardens. This extensively revised and expanded second edition broadens the reach and depth of the permaculture approach for urban and suburban growers.

    Gaia's Garden

    A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture

    With a depth of information to engage the most passionate master growers and the enthusiasm to inspire beginners to start how they can, Gaia's Garden demonstrates the pleasure of gardening and landscaping in harmony with ecological systems.


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