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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. 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 at 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 editor of Permaculture Activist, a journal of ecological design and sustainable culture, from 1999 to 2004. 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 American Gardener. He is available for workshops, lectures, and consulting in ecological design.

He lives in Sebastopol, California.

Visit his web site at

    Toby's Upcoming Events

    • Toby Hemenway at Seattle Tilth
      6000 16th Ave SW, Seattle WA 98106
      May 16, 2015, 9:00 am

      Toby Hemenway will instruct Seattle Tilth's 6 weekend permaculture design course from May-October with Larry Santoyo. This engaging 72-hour course is offered over six weekends from May-October, including May 16 & 17, June 20 & 21, July 18 & 19, Aug. 15 & 16, Sept. 19 & 20, Oct. 17 & 18. Classes on Saturdays run from 9-5:00 PM and Sundays run from 9:30-5:00 PM at the Nobie Chan Education Center at South Seattle Community College. Early bird registration is $1000 and normal registration is $1150.

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

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

    Toby's Books

    The Permaculture City

    Regenerative Design for Urban, Suburban, and Town Resilience

    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.


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