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Vale Toby Hemenway

Toby Hemenway, one of the most influential permaculture authors and teachers from North America, passed away earlier this week aged 64.

Toby discovered permaculture in 1990 after a career in genetics and developed a rural permaculture property in southern Oregon with his wife Kiel.

He was editor of Permaculture Activist magazine from 1999 to 2004 and his book Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture is credited as being the most successful book about permaculture in the world, having sold more than 250,000 copies.

His 2015 book The Permaculture City: Regenerative Design for Urban, Suburban, and Town Resilience applies permaculture thinking and principles to organising everyday life.

In 2005, Su and I were hosted by Toby in Portland, Oregon during our 6-month teaching and study tour of North America. I remember him as earnest and modest as he maintained a passionate commitment to permaculture ideas as he made the transition from rural self-reliant living to applying permaculture in the city. His move back to urban living was emblematic of the learnings of our generation about the limits to rural self-sufficiency.

– David Holmgren, December 2016

Su + Toby in August 2005 on a walking tour of Portland urban permaculture

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APC12 recap

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Oliver and Richard were really energised by APC12 !

The 12th Australasian permaculture convergence held at  Penguin in early March was a milestone in the return of permaculture to its Tasmanian origins. 

With a few too many great distractions I missed 75% of the sessions but was lucky enough to see Kat Lavers Skyping from Melbourne with her caring for your worm-farm presentation (watch those hot days). My partner enjoyed a workshop with Hannah and Steve Cooper interpreting the Principles through art. A highlight for me was the cheerful display of edible foods from around the world on the venue walls. Burnie local, Bruce French presented the Food Plants International database with stories of his times overseas teaching people to eat their local food (fresh, free, and many times nutritionally superior) rather than the western food in the supermarket. Bruce likes ‘helping hungry people feed themselves’ and to do this he insists on at least 50% female representation in his overseas (aid) work (as it works). Another local from nearby Somerset, Con Rhee, gave a talk which I found very helpful, practically, about designing the solar system for your needs. Minimise your needs first, says Con, invest in what you need, and keep the embodied energy investment in the hardware to a minimum….with the added benefit that you will be more likely to understand the system and may even be able to fix it yourself if anything goes wrong. Our local Castlemaine team Ian Lillington & Marita Zeh posited a ‘permie diet’ (no grains)! Their wonderful examples of fermented foods had a huge crowd trying them out at the end of the talk (no problems getting these living organisms across the border). These sessions were just a few of the 50 odd on offer.

David Holmgren looking short with tall poppies of Tassie permaculture  Hannah Moloney and Anton Vikstom

David Holmgren looking short with tall poppies of Tassie permaculture Hannah Moloney and Anton Vikstom

One of the presenters, Rosemary Morrow, couldn’t get to the convergence which also meant that the follow up Permaculture Teacher Training Course with she and Hannah and Anton of Good Life Permaculture had to be postponed. The course has been rescheduled and the new dates are 19-25 April.

Rowe Morrow, one of the world’s most experienced permaculture trainers will help build on the energy generated by the convergence. Rowe’s past history in teaching and training some of the most effective permaculture activists around, combined with the organisation and facilitation skills of Good Life Permaculture hosts Hannah and Anton, promises a great course, rare and not to be missed if you’re starting up in permie teaching, invigorating for those already teaching. Highly recommended.

says David Holmgren.

Each of the key note speakers deserve their own posts, meanwhile read David Holmgren’s keynote speech here,

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Beautiful sunny Penguin and ~200 happy permies

I left Penguin with a huge appreciation for the creativity and energy alive and thriving in the aussie permie world and several month’s worth of top web links to explore.

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