Writings

Vale Toby Hemenway

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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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2 thoughts on “Vale Toby Hemenway”

  1. Pingback: Toby Hemenway, RIP « integral permaculture

  2. Such an important work: working in the cities and suburban areas as it is there where most people live…also working with social structures and beyond the techniques of farming/gardening/growing food and with what we already have: toxic environments and materials that will not go away magically. It is also needed a permaculture approach that considers more realistic settings, such as apartments and truly small houses, debt, etc. Toby’s legacy sits in his clarity to lay out systems thinking and go beyond gardens…hope his passing inspires others to take on his steps and honour his legacy by extending it to all.

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