Eric Toensmeier

Eric Toensmeier is the award-winning author of Paradise Lot and Perennial Vegetables, and the co-author of Edible Forest Gardens. He is an appointed lecturer at Yale University, a Senior Biosequestration Fellow with Project Drawdown, and an international trainer. Eric presents in English, Spanish, and botanical Latin throughout the Americas and beyond. He has studied useful perennial plants and their roles in agroforestry systems for over two decades. Eric has owned a seed company, managed an urban farm that leased parcels to Hispanic and refugee growers, and provided planning and business trainings to farmers. He is the author of The Carbon Farming Solution: A Global Toolkit of Perennial Crops and Regenerative Agricultural Practices for Climate Change Mitigation and Food Security released in February 2016.

Designing Edible Food Forests Course – Occidental, California

Food forest designed by Doug Gosling of OAEC, featuring loquat, pineapple guava, tree collards, passionfruit, and more. Note coquito palm in background. What: Designing Edible Food Forests Course Where: Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, Occidental CA When: Nov 2 – 4, 2012 Who: Eric Toensmeier and Brock Dolman Cost: $495, or $445 if registered three weeks in advance (includes meals and lodging). The deposit amount for this course is $100. […]

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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 blame for any errors that have crept in. This article only addresses the species present […]

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Edible Forest Gardens Tasting Workshop

With Eric Toensmeier, Jonathan Bates and Steve Breyer October 19-20, 2012, Holyoke & Southampton, Massachusetts USA The best way to learn about food forests is by eating your way through mature examples during peak fruit and nut season. Details can come later. Come eat delights like persimmon, paw paw, Asian pear, hardy kiwifruit, raspberry, fall strawberries, cucumber berry, chestnut, butternut, hardy almond, Korean pine nut, and so much more.

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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 why it is of interest. Wild tamarind (Lysiloma latisiliquum), a nitrogen-fixing legume native from Florida […]

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Year-Round Food: Backyard Bioshelter Greenhouse Workshop

What: Year-Round Food: Backyard Bioshelter Greenhouse Workshop Where: Holyoke, Massachusetts, USA When: September 1, 2012 Featuring Scotty Kellogg, author of Toolbox for Sustainable City Living, and Director of The Radix Ecological Sustainabilty Center in Albany, NY. During the October 2011 snowstorm, a tree fell on our greenhouse. Instead of mourning the loss, we realized an opportunity to build a bigger better bioshelter! Bioshelters are a cold-climate permaculture strategy — insulated […]

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Higher Order Taxonomy: Nature’s Filing System

by Eric Toensmeier 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 of the 10,000 or so species that are important to me and […]

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Intermediate Edible Forest Gardens Workshop, Landenberg PA, USA

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 homestead rich in gardens, young food forests and a plant nursery specializing in native and […]

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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 focused on cold climates, but we are working on building our system to include (over […]

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Edible Forest Gardens Course, Woodbine Ecology Center, Sedalia Colorado (June 2012)

Course Date: June 1 — 7, 2012 About Edible Forest Gardens: Edible forest gardens mimic the structures and functions of natural ecosystems while producing food and other products, with an emphasis on low-maintenance perennial crops. These gardens (and larger-scale operations) can provide critical ecosystem services while meeting human needs. Design and plant selection help provide fertility, control of weeds and pests, and more. This 6-day residential course will emphasize the […]

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Indigenous Land Management Practices in the USA (Videos)

I’ve been interested in indigenous land management for many years, but since the publication of M. Kat Anderson’s phenomenal Tending the Wild: Native American Knowledge and the Management of California’s Natural Resources I’ve been engaged in active research. This has included collaboration with the Woodbine Ecology Center and my work on a publication (read an excerpt here) for them about indigenous management in the prairie and Rocky Mountain regions where […]

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Stabilizing the Climate with “Permanent Agriculture”

Trees are one of our most powerful tools to pull carbon from the atmosphere and sequester it in the soil for long-term storage. This is why reforestation and protecting intact forests are such important parts of plans to address climate change. Conventional climate change science tells us that the planet’s capacity for reforestation is limited, however, by the need to preserve land for agriculture. But movements like agroforestry and permaculture […]

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