Toby Hemenway was the author of the first major North American book on permaculture, Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, as well as The Permaculture City. 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 associate editor of Permaculture Activist, a journal of ecological design and sustainable culture, from 1999 to 2004. He taught permaculture and consulted and lectured on ecological design throughout the country, and his writing appeared in magazines such as Whole Earth Review, Natural Home, and Kitchen Gardener. Toby passed away in 2016.
Visit his web site at www.patternliteracy.com
During the past seven years, Sole Food Street Farms—now North America’s largest urban farm project—has transformed acres of vacant and contaminated urban land into street farms that grow artisan-quality fruits and vegetables. By providing jobs, agricultural training, and inclusion in a community of farmers and food lovers, the Sole Food project has empowered dozens of individuals with limited resources who are managing addiction and chronic mental health problems.
Sole Food’s mission is to encourage small farms in every urban neighborhood so that good food can be accessible to all, and to do so in a manner that allows everyone to participate in the process. In Street Farm, author-photographer-farmer Michael Ableman chronicles the challenges, growth, and success of this groundbreaking project and presents compelling portraits of the neighborhood residents-turned-farmers whose lives have been touched by it. Throughout, he also weaves his philosophy and insights about food and farming, as well as the fundamentals that are the underpinnings of success for both rural farms and urban farms. Street Farm will inspire individuals and communities everywhere by providing a clear vision for combining innovative farming methods with concrete social goals, all of which aim to create healthier and more resilient communities.
In telling the story of Paradise Lot, Toensmeier explains the principles and practices of permaculture, the choice of exotic and unusual food plants, the techniques of design and cultivation, and, of course, the adventures, mistakes, and do-overs in the process. Packed full of detailed, useful information about designing a highly productive permaculture garden, Paradise Lot is also a funny and charming story of two single guys, both plant nerds, with a wild plan: to realize the garden of their dreams and meet women to share it with. Amazingly, on both counts, they succeed.
These modern-day Johnny Appleseeds perform random acts of gardening, often without permission. Typical targets are vacant lots, railway land, underused public squares, and back alleys. The concept is simple, whimsical, and has the cheeky appeal of being a not-quite-legal call to action. Dig in some soil, plant a few seeds, or mend a sagging fence—one good deed inspiring another, with win-win benefits all around.
Guerrilla Gardening outlines the power-to-the-people campaign for greening our cities. Tips for effective involvement include:
• Finding plants and seeds cheap (or free)
• Handling city officials
• Getting the dirt on soil
• Planting to bring back the birds
• Knowing when to ask first
Social activists, city dwellers, and longtime gardeners will delight in this fast-paced and funny call to arms.
David Tracey is a journalist and environmental designer who operates EcoUrbanist in Vancouver. He is executive director of Tree City Canada, a nonprofit ecological engagement group.
Caught between climate change and a fossil fuel-driven economy that demands ever more growth, the world faces a great transition—by design or disaster—away from fossil fuels to an alternative renewable energy future.
But what proven tools are available to aid in making a successful, deliberate transition to resilient and sustainable living?
For the first time, the power of permaculture design has been brought to bear on the great transition problem. In the process, acclaimed permaculture teacher and designer Ross Mars has distilled his considerable knowledge into the ultimate permaculture resource for resilient and sustainable living.
The Permaculture Transition Manual is packed with information on permaculture design principles, gardening, soil building, nutrient-dense food growing, including top plant and tree selections for all climatic zones. Coverage extends to rainwater harvesting and irrigation, human waste management, and strategies for rural properties plus a unique focus on applying permaculture to small urban spaces for decluttering and efficient food growing. Also covered are hand tools, food preservation, alternative renewable energy production, low-carbon housing, and a plethora of nearly forgotten and cozy skills such as soap making, basket weaving, seed saving, rope and candle making, and more.
On the desert island of a world in decline this is the one-stop guide to vibrant, resilient and sustainable living you'll want to take with you.
Ross Mars is a scientist with a PhD in Environmental Science, entrepreneur and highly-regarded permaculture teacher and designer. Author of The Basics of Permaculture Design , he manages Candlelight Farm, a permaculture demonstration site and training center in Western Australia.
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 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 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 new 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.
William Kamkwamba was born in Malawi, a country where magic ruled and modern science was mystery. It was also a land withered by drought and hunger. But William had read about windmills, and he dreamed of building one that would bring to his small village a set of luxuries that only 2 percent of Malawians could enjoy: electricity and running water. His neighbors called him misala—crazy—but William refused to let go of his dreams. With a small pile of once-forgotten science textbooks; some scrap metal, tractor parts, and bicycle halves; and an armory of curiosity and determination, he embarked on a daring plan to forge an unlikely contraption and small miracle that would change the lives around him.
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a remarkable true story about human inventiveness and its power to overcome crippling adversity. It will inspire anyone who doubts the power of one individual's ability to change his community and better the lives of those around him.
To many people today, using the words “factory” and “farm” in the same sentence is nothing short of sacrilege. In many cases, though, the same sound business practices apply whether you are producing cars or carrots. Author Ben Hartman and other young farmers are increasingly finding that incorporating the best new ideas from business into their farming can drastically cut their wastes and increase their profits, making their farms more environmentally and economically sustainable. By explaining the lean system for identifying and eliminating waste and introducing efficiency in every aspect of the farm operation, The Lean Farm makes the case that small-scale farming can be an attractive career option for young people who are interested in growing food for their community. Working smarter, not harder, also prevents the kind of burnout that start-up farmers often encounter in the face of long, hard, backbreaking labor.
Lean principles grew out of the Japanese automotive industry, but they are now being followed on progressive farms around the world. Using examples from his own family’s one-acre community-supported farm in Indiana, Hartman clearly instructs other small farmers in how to incorporate lean practices in each step of their production chain, from starting a farm and harvesting crops to training employees and selling goods. While the intended audience for this book is small-scale farmers who are part of the growing local food movement, Hartman’s prescriptions for high-value, low-cost production apply to farms and businesses of almost any size or scale that hope to harness the power of lean in their production processes.