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Upcoming workshops 2015-2016

May 29-June 7 Integrated Social and Ecological Design with Brad Lancaster and Pandora Thomas, Woodbine Ecology Center, Colorado.   June 26-28 Edible Forest Gardens Vermont Edible Landscapes, Vermont.   July 5-31 Ecological Literacy Immersion Program,(I teach three days) Omega Institute, New York.   August 3-7 Carbon Farming: Practices and Perennial Crops to Sequester Carbon, OAEC, […]

Carbon Farming Practices

What farming practices can help stabilize the climate by sequestering carbon? Almost anything that builds soil organic matter can do the trick, but some sequester much more carbon than others. Even low rates of carbon sequestration can make a huge difference if practiced on enough farms. Here’s a typology and comparison of these systems. Note […]

Tropical Perennial Staple Crop Resources

Perennial staple crops provide protein, carbohydrates, and fats on long lived trees, shrubs, vines, succulents, and perennial herbs. You can ready my 2011 article Perennial Staple Crops of the World here. For more up-to-date but not quit comprehensive lists of tropical perennial staples in English and Spanish see the new handouts below: Perennial Staple Crops […]

Images needed for Carbon Farming Book

Dear friends of carbon farming,   I’m coming into the last few months of completing the manuscript for Carbon Farming: Stabilizing the Climate with Perennial Crops and Regenerative Farming Practices. Part of that is pulling together photographs – my publisher Chelsea Green would like lots of good images to show what these crops and farming […]

intensive silvopasture – a win-win for carbon and yield

As I research my book on carbon-sequestering agriculture I am occasionally struck by particularly promising techniques that mitigate climate change, build soils, and actually increase production of human food or other yields. One such system that has me excited this week is intensive silvopasture. Intensive silvopasture combines improved pasture with extremely high densities of woody […]

Fukuoka’s Food Forest

Many of us in the permaculture and organic movements have read Japanese farmer Masanobu Fukuoka’s One Straw Revolution, which lays out his ingenious (though hard to replicate) no-till organic rice production system. I was surprised and pleased when, in my job as librarian for the New England Small Farm Institute in the late 1990s, I […]

Summer Berries in a Humid Cold Temperate Climate

Excerpted from Paradise Lot: Two Plant Geeks, One Tenth of an Acre, and the Making of an Edible Garden Oasis in the City   As perennial vegetable season dries up, berries are coming into full swing. Foraging for fresh fruit in the backyard was a key goal in our garden and this is reflected in […]

Useful Plants from Robert Nold’s “High and Dry”

Make sure to join our Mailing List. One of the more challenging environments for food production is cold and arid. I’ve been investigating useful perennial plants for that climate for many years. A few years ago I purchased Robert Nold’s High and Dry: Gardening with Cold-Hardy Dryland Plants. Robert isn’t interested in growing these plants for […]

Forest Gardens and Commercial Food Forestry Workshop – Vermont June/July 2014

Edible Forest Gardens and Commercial Food Forestry Saturday, June 28, 2014 to Thursday, July 3, 2014 Huntington, VT USA Want to learn about edible forest gardens, agroforestry, and commercial food forest business development for cold, humid climates? This is the workshop for you! Choose from an introductory weekend and an advanced six-day intensive. For more […]

Agroforestry Support Species for Cold Climates

Rafter Ferguson’s recent excellent article “Permaculture for Agroecology” challenges the permaculture movement to read up on whats happening in related fields like agroecology and agroforestry. I’m particularly interested in learning from the well-established agroforestry practices of the tropics to see what might be applied in cold climates. I’ve been learning a lot about what species […]

Spring: Season of Perennial Vegetables in the Cold-Climate Garden

Excerpted from Paradise Lot by Eric Toensmeier with contributions from Jonathan Bates Bates and Toensmeier will be hosting a perennial vegetable tasting and edible landscaping workshop at their garden in Holyoke, MA, USA this April 26, 2014. From the beginning of my interest in plants for permaculture and edible landscaping I identified perennial vegetables as […]

HARDY GINGERS FOR THE FOOD FOREST UNDERSTORY

When I visit tropical and subtropical forest gardens I often see ginger, turmeric, galangal, and cardamom in the understory, beneath and between the fruit trees. In fact, according to P.K. Nair’s fantastic Tropical Homegardens, ginger and turmeric are universally found in tropical homegardens (ancient, traditional food forests) around the world. I was thus very excited […]

subtropical species resources

Hello to everybody from the FGCU and ECHO workshops.  Thanks for a great time, here are some resources.   South Florida native all-stars South Florida introduced all-stars Florida perennial plant palette 2013   Eric  

Upcoming Events 2014

2014 CALENDAR   Hi everybody. Mostly I’ll be writing my next book in 2014, but I will be going on the road to give some presentations and also inviting all of you to my home for some tours to sample the fruits of each season. Please contact the organizers for more information.   Perennial Crops […]

species resources for south Florida

Here are some species lists I’ve put together for folks in South Florida. Florida perennial plant palette 2013 South Florida introduced all-stars South Florida native all-stars

fall workshop series

I’m on the road doing a number of workshops this fall. Please come check them out! Rainwater Harvesting and Edible Forest Gardens August 23-28, Sedalia, CO Hosted by Woodbine Ecology Center, a two-part series: first rainwater harvesting and greywater utilization with Brad Lancaster, followed by a forest gardens weekend intro with five-day advanced design option. […]

Perennial Vegetables DVD review in Permaculture Activist

Permaculture Activist  #88, May 2013 Five segments show perennial vegetables of every shape and size growing in climates from Massachusetts to Mexico and back by way of Florida. Eric is photogenic, poised, and delivers in a beautiful voice. He’s a fount of fabulous fare on growing and preparing unusual foods. High production values and an […]

Paradise Lot review in HortIdeas

Nice thoughtful review of Paradise Lot in HortIdeas: HORTIDEAS, March 2013, 30(3) BOOK & DVD REVIEW Paradise Lot: Two Plant Geeks, One-Tenth of an Acre and the Making of an Edible Garden Oasis in the City, by Eric Toensmeier with contributions by Jonathan Bates, Chelsea Green Publishing, White River Junction, VT, 2013, 234 pp., $19.95, […]

Staple Fruits of the World

This article is an excerpt from my forthcoming book Carbon Farming: A Global Toolkit for Stabilizing the Climate with Tree Crops and Regenerative Agriculture Practices, and is part of a series promoting my kickstarter campaign to raise funds with which to complete the book. You can pre-order a copy through April 30th and help make […]

Legume Trees with Pods Edible by Livestock

This article is an excerpt from my forthcoming book Carbon Farming: A Global Toolkit for Stabilizing the Climate with Tree Crops and Regenerative Agriculture Practices, and is part of a series promoting my kickstarter campaign to raise funds with which to complete the book. You can pre-order a copy and help make it possible for […]

Perennial Cereal Grains: A Promise Requiring Patience and Prioritization

This article is an excerpt from my forthcoming book Carbon Farming: A Global Toolkit for Stabilizing the Climate with Tree Crops and Regenerative Agriculture Practices, and is part of a series promoting my kickstarter campaign to raise funds with which to complete the book. You can pre-order a copy and help make it possible for […]

Carbon-Sequestering Perennial Industrial Crops

This article is an excerpt from my forthcoming book Carbon Farming: A Global Toolkit for Stabilizing the Climate with Tree Crops and Regenerative Agriculture Practices, and is part of a series promoting my kickstarter campaign to raise funds with which to complete the book. Industrial crops produce materials, chemicals, and energy. Some, like cotton, have […]

Industrial Starch and Bioplastic from Non-Destructively Harvested Perennials

This article is an excerpt from my forthcoming book Carbon Farming: A Global Toolkit for Stabilizing the Climate with Tree Crops and Regenerative Agriculture Practices, and is part of a series promoting my kickstarter campaign to raise funds with which to complete the book. Though we rarely think of it, starch is the number two […]

Siberian Pea Shrub – a Potential Perennial Bean for Cold and Arid Regions

This article is an excerpt from my forthcoming book Carbon Farming: A Global Toolkit for Stabilizing the Climate with Tree Crops and Regenerative Agriculture Practices, and is part of a series promoting my kickstarter campaign to raise funds with which to complete the book. Siberian Pea Shrub (Caragana arborescens). This shrub from Siberia and other […]

Perennial Egusi – A Staple Seed for the Arid Tropics

This article is an excerpt from my forthcoming book Carbon Farming: A Global Toolkit for Stabilizing the Climate with Tree Crops and Regenerative Agriculture Practices, and is part of a series promoting my kickstarter campaign to raise funds with which to complete the book. Melon and squash seeds are important staple foods in many parts […]

Resources for Gardening with Edible Native Plants of the Eastern Deciduous Forest of North America

Recent decades have seen excellent work in prioritizing gardening with native species. However, most all–native gardens are not sufficiently ecological in that they do not provide the food and other needs of human inhabitants, nor accept and cycle their wastes. The ecological garden must embrace a wider perspective that de–externalizes the ecological footprint of the […]

Coppiced Nitrogen-Fixing Firewood Species of the World

This article is an excerpt from my forthcoming book Carbon Farming: A Global Toolkit for Stabilizing the Climate with Tree Crops and Regenerative Agriculture Practices, and is part of a series promoting my kickstarter campaign to raise funds with which to complete the book. These firewood species grow rapidly, fix nitrogen, and re-sprout (coppice) quickly […]

To save the planet we may need to turn it into an edible paradise… help me write the book that explains how and why.

Check out my kickstarter campaign and learn about this hopeful solution to climate change and how you can be part of making it happen.

Upcoming Courses

I’ll be hitting the road soon. Here’s the spring schedule: Subtropical Food Forestry April 5-10 Homestead, Florida   Introduction to Edible Forest Gardens May 3-5 near Philadelphia, PA   Backyard Bioshelter Workshop May 18 Holyoke, MA    

Ecosystem Mimicry in Subtropical Florida

Ecosystem mimicry is one of the concepts at the heart of permaculture. The food forest or edible forest garden, for example, strives to replicate the structure, relationships, and successional pathways of natural forest ecosystems. I’m fortunate to have had the chance to travel and teach in different regions and ecosystems. In many cases I return […]

Paradise Lot gets huge spread in the New York Times!

We are pleased and honored to have our book and garden profiled in the New York Times on Valentine’s Day! The article is in the Home and Garden section and is by garden journalist Anne Raver. Anne came here a few weeks ago to interview us. It is a very lovely article and of course […]

A Global Inventory of Perennial Vegetables

A GLOBAL INVENTORY OF PERENNIAL VEGETABLES Eric Toensmeier   This post is to celebrate the release of my new Perennial Vegetable Gardening DVD!  And make sure to join our Mailing List. Perennial Vegetables Defined These are crops that fit my definition of perennial vegetable: living three or more years, used as a vegetable and not a […]

Paradise Lot: Two Plant Geeks, One Tenth of an Acre, and the Making of an Edible Garden Oasis in the City

Hey my new book is out! It tells the story of our home garden. Check out the Paradise Lot blog.

Financial Permaculture podcast

If you’ve been interested in the Financial Permaculture course but can’t make it (or want to learn more before deciding), you can check out my new financial permaculture podcast interview with The Permaculture Podcast. I give an overview of financial permaculture, give some case studies, talk about the course, the Earth Learning project and the […]

Financial Permaculture Course – Save $80 on Registration

Announcing the 2013 Financial Permaculture & Local Business Summit. Earth Learning, the South Dade Economic Development Council, Financial Permaculture Institute, and Miami Dade College will host community investment/financial experts, permaculture designers and sustainability entrepreneurs for this dynamic gathering and integrative learning experience to begin building resiliency in our community. We will address economic andecological challenges […]

Edible Plants of Central America

Fantastic new book available free online on edible native plants of Central America. If you read Spanish you should check it out!

Integrating Livestock in the Food Forest

Integrating livestock seems to be the best way to have a larger-scale food forest (anything over one hectare or a couple of acres). If done properly, livestock integration can greatly reduce labor and fossil fuel needs.  It can create the conditions for happy and healthy livestock.  Done poorly, it can ruin soils and destroy crops. […]

Considerations in Designing a Commercial Food Forest

It seems that everywhere I  teach these days I am meeting people who are interested in  scaling up the edible forest gardens model. Indeed, this form of carbon–sequestering food for stray could have a major impact on climate change if practiced on a much larger scale.  But how do you develop a successful business to […]

Designing Edible Food Forests Course – Occidental, California

Location: Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, Occidental CA Offered: Nov 2 – 4, 2012 Instructors:  Eric Toensmeier and Brock Dolman Cost: $495/445 if registered three weeks in advance (includes meals and lodging).  The deposit amount for this course is $100.  For registration information, click here. Edible forest gardens mimic the structures and functions of natural ecosystems […]

The All-Native Ethnobotanical Rainwater-Harvesting Food Forest

One of the basic ideas of permaculture is that its principles remain the same though they are reflected uniquely in every site. Recently I’ve done plantings at two different food forestry courses that demonstrate this quite nicely. The first course was at Woodbine Ecology Center in Sedalia Colorado. Their site is high and dry, at […]

Forest garden fun at Green Light Plants

On my way home from a great “intermediate forest garden” weekend workshop at Green Light Plants in Landenberg PA. Dale Henricks of Green Light was our host, his house is lovely and the garden is pretty fantastic. Green Light Plants is Dale Hendricks’ nursery specializing in native permaculture plants and other cool stuff. They have […]

Nitrogen fixing podocarpus with Rhizobia partner!

Thanks to Taylor Nelson for pointing out that Podocarpus macrophyllus, in the Conifer division, fixes nitrogen. In fact it has Rhizobium in the roots but does not have nodules and may not fix very much nitrogen. Edible fruit! Talyor also mentioned that some South American Proteaceae may fix nitrogen as well. Perhaps my hypothesis still […]

Cucurbitales Features Nitrogen Fixing Family!

As I speculated in my recent blog on Insights into Nitrogen Fixation from Higher Order Taxonomy, there is in fact at least one group of nitrogen fixers in the Cucurbitales order. This was the only standout order in its lineage without a Rhizobia- or Frankia-partnering nitrogen fixer. The blog was reprinted on the lovely Permaculture […]

Maximizing Omega-Level Diversity

Note: this is a piece that was originally to be published in Edible Forest Gardens which I coauthored with Dave Jacke. Yes, there are parts we cut out, it would have been even longer! Dave reviewed and edited that version of this article, though I have substantially updated it here and he is not to […]

Insights into Nitrogen Fixation from Higher-Order Taxonomy

Nitrogen fixation is an important ecological phenomenon and a critical element of agroecological systems. Nitrogen fixing plants, through a symbiosis with various microorganisms, can convert atmospheric nitrogen to essential nitrogen fertilizer. A great diversity of species from many widely-separated orders fix nitrogen. This is an interesting lens through which to view higher-order taxonomy, and see […]

Higher Order Taxonomy: Nature’s Filing System

When I started to learn about useful plants and their scientific (Latin) names, I quickly came to realize that there were many more than I could easily keep track of. Fortunately botany comes with a pre-made filing system to organize every species. Use of this system has made it easy for me to keep track […]

Cuba Mass-Planting Moringa and Mulberry

Fidel Castro’s REFLECCIONES de FIDEL column of June 17, 2012 titled Healthy Food and Jobs reads (my translation): “The conditions have been created to begin large-scale production of Moringa oleifera and mulberry, inexhaustible sources of meat, eggs, and milk, silk for artisanal spinning, that can provide well-paid work in the shade, independent of age or […]

Intermediate Edible Forest Garden Design Workshop near Philadelphia September 7-9, 2012

Join author and educator Eric Toensmeier and friends for a hands-on and fun-filled weekend of Edible Forest Gardening (EFG) – gardens which mimic the structures and functions of natural ecosystems while producing food and other products, with an emphasis on low-maintenance perennial crops. Our learning and design exercises will be informed by our site, a […]

User–Generated Food Forest Resource is Online

The Apios Institute for Regenerative Perennial Agriculture has spent several years developing a user–generated resource on food forests. Users can add content on species, polycultures, and sites. This content ranges from videos, text, recipes, and photos, and emphasizes personal experience or direct observation of species in other gardens and the wild. Thus far we have […]

All Nitrogen Fixers Are Not Created Equal

Be sure to sign up for our mailing list. Nitrogen fixing species are a cornerstone of food forestry and other permaculture practices.  Through a partnership with symbiotic organisms in their roots, these plants can turn atmospheric nitrogen into nitrogen fertilizers useful to themselves but also becoming available to their neighbors over time through root die […]

Addressing Global Problems with Permaculture

Welcome to www.perennialsolutions.org. Here I’ll be profiling regenerative food production practices that can feed us while healing degraded land, fighting climate change by sequestering carbon, and addressing a host of other social and ecological challenges. Some of these practices are well established and ready to implement on a massive scale. Others are still under development […]

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