Toby Hemenway – Permaculture Crusader – Needs Your Help

For years, Toby Hemenway has been a crusader for permaculture and other ecological issues within the United States. At first a very talented researcher in the fields of genetics and immunology, Toby has transformed into a pioneer of permaculture over the course of his life. The author of multiple books (including the best-selling permaculture book in the world, Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture), as well as a scholar representing a handful of universities, he currently acts as a director at the U.S. Permaculture Institute. His latest book, on urban permaculture, The Permaculture City, came out last year. Toby has taught more than 60 72-hour permaculture design courses and consistently speaks at sustainability conferences and events. He is the founder of urban sustainability resources in Portland, and of a rural permaculture site in southern Oregon.

Sadly, tragedy struck Toby and his family in 2015. In the fall of that year, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. After undergoing chemotherapy, he was nevertheless told that his cancer had spread from his pancreas to his liver. While Toby had recently begun his second round of chemo in October, he developed septic shock just last month. Septic shock occurs when an immune system weakened by cancer allows for a widespread infection in the blood, as well as dangerously low blood pressure. Since, additional scans show the cancer continues to spread. As of last week, Toby has signed up for home hospice.

Obviously, Toby is unable to work in his condition, and his wife has dedicated herself to caring for him full time. During this difficult season, the family continues to require the basic necessities for day-to-day life and caregiving. Currently, Toby and his family have set up a crowdfunding account on YouCaring to assist them with their primary needs. With a $25,000 goal, they’re on their way to covering their expenses, but still need your help.

The Permaculture Research Institute encourages the permaculture community to rally behind Toby and his family in this very trying time, to show love and support whatever comes their way. During the upcoming holidays, as most of us are spending time with our families and appreciating our many blessings, take a moment to remember those who have been hit with unexpected misfortune, and help in however you’re equipped. Donations of any amount can be made on Toby’s YouCaring site,, and every single donation is greatly appreciated.



4 thoughts on “Toby Hemenway – Permaculture Crusader – Needs Your Help

  1. This was posted on Toby’s Facebook page this afternoon:

    A message from Toby’s wife, Kiel:
    “It’s with the deepest grief that I tell you that Toby passed away early this morning, Tuesday, Dec. 20. We were both so very moved by the outpouring of love and support from all of you. Before we settled down for the night, Toby was looking at your messages and the notifications of donations. He was touched beyond belief. Those were the last moments that I saw him alive—bathed in your love and appreciation. I couldn’t have wanted a better end for him.
    Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I will never forget your love.
    I will use your donations to pay for his hospice care this past week, as well as cremation and service (details are yet to be worked out) and to help me with living expenses while I start a new life. We will close the YouCaring page soon. If you feel moved to make further donations for my support during this transition, it would be deeply appreciated. But please know that your love and support have blessed Toby’s and my life forever. We are so grateful.
    May Toby’s legacy be carried forward by all you good people.
    Blessings and gratitude,
    Kiel Hemenway”

  2. A sad moment in time and my thoughts go out to Kiel and family.
    Why is there an ad for a totally unrelated campaign on this page? (The Seed Campaign)

  3. Posting about Geoff’s new course material, then explaining PRI to others brought me to this news. I’m saddened for you, for all of us.
    Toby touched me years ago via his video that I also shared often – about saving humanity, but not civilization.
    You’ve already said how his being appreciated helped him. I’m just adding one more note to say the same, hoping additional loving thoughts can help you and those close to him now left behind.

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