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Posts Tagged ‘Toby Hemenway’

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Toby Hemenway was born on April 23, 1952 and died on December 20, 2016.

He was an American author and educator.

Hemenway has written extensively on permaculture and ecological issues.

Hemenway was the author of Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture and The Permaculture City: Regenerative Design for Urban, Suburban, and Town Resilience.

Hemenway served as an adjunct professor at Portland State University, Scholar-in-Residence at Pacific University, and a field director at the Permaculture Institute (USA).

When he had obtained his 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.

Toby Hemenway passed away at 64 years old.

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Mother Earth News writes…

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 award-winning author Toby Hemenway demonstrates in Gaia’s Garden (Chelsea Green, 2009), it’s fun and easy to build a backyard ecosystem by assembling communities of plants that can work cooperatively and perform a variety of functions. In the following excerpt, learn how to use permaculture landscape design to create a lush seven-layer forest garden.

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chelseagreen.com writes…

“…Jeremiah from Wisconsin asks:
In Bill Mollison’s seminal book, he talks a lot about all sorts of natural patterns such as fractals, wave patterns, etc… Most of it went way over my head. How do you use these mathematical patterns in your actual permaculture designs?

Toby Hemenway: Patterning is a hard concept to grasp at first, and I have several chapters written on a book on patterning in design. Permaculturists look at what functions the design is supposed to achieve—how are we moving people and materials around, blocking wind, creating warm microclimates, etc —and then look for patterns that help do that.

For example, nature uses branching patterns to collect and distribute energy and materials, the way roots and branches of a tree collect and distribute sun, water, and nutrients. If there are places to collect or distribute things in our design, maybe a branching pattern is needed. That’s why many garden paths are in a branching pattern; we’re collecting and distributing water, food, mulch, compost materials, and so on. Mound and lobe patterns can increase surface area and exposure—are there places that we need to do that? Spirals are usually patterns of growth and flow—where are those things going on in the design?

Working well with patterns means understanding how a few basic patterns are used in nature—how is nature working with branches, waves, spirals, fractals, pulses, networks, and such?—and seeing what functions we have going on in our design—are things in the design collecting, growing, strengthening, flowing toward or away from, and so forth? Then see if there are patterns for arranging the pieces of the design that will do that. We let the design tell us what patterns will make life easier, rather than force a pattern on the design…”

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