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Eric Toensmeier

Eric Toensmeier

Eric Toensmeier is the award-winning author of Paradise Lot and Perennial Vegetables, and the co-author of Edible Forest Gardens. Eric is an appointed lecturer at Yale University, a Senior Fellow with Project Drawdown, and an international trainer. He presents in English and Spanish throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, and the Caribbean. Eric has studied useful perennial plants and their roles in agroforestry systems for over two decades, and cultivates about 300 species in his urban garden. His writing can be viewed online at perennialsolutions.org.

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Eric Toensmeier

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  1. The Carbon Farming Solution

    By Eric Toensmeier
    Foreword by Dr. Hans Herren

    In this groundbreaking book, author Eric Toensmeier offers a Big Idea: That agriculture, often blamed as a major culprit of our climate crisis, could be harnessed as part of a global solution to avert disaster, heal our planet, and provide real food security.

    Toensmeier (Paradise Lot, Perennial Vegetables) argues that “carbon farming” has the potential—when combined with a massive reduction in fossil fuel emissions and in concert with adaptation strategies to our changing environment—to return our atmosphere to the “magic number” of 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide.

    Carbon farming is a suite of agricultural practices and crops that sequester carbon in the soil and in aboveground biomass, which includes modifications to current cropping systems, the use of perennial crops, new approaches to animal grazing, agroforestry, and more. Toensmeier brings together these powerful strategies in one book including in-depth analysis of the available research and, where research is lacking, a discussion of what we need to understand better and the steps that can get us there. The book includes in-depth information on:

    • Perennial staple and industrial crops including those that can provide us with starches, sugar, oils, fiber, energy, and more
    • Improved grazing and livestock practices
    • Measurements of a project’s impact on carbon reduction and sequestration
    • Details on how to scale up existing carbon farming enterprises
    • Effective financing models for communities and the private sector
    • An overview of international policy barriers to expanding carbon farming

    Using The Carbon Farming Solution as a guide, farmers, communities, and governments large and small can successfully launch carbon farming projects with the most appropriate crops and practices to their climate, locale, and socioeconomic needs.  Along the way it can help address food security, social and climate injustice, women’s empowerment, environmental degradation, and some of the core problems with the global food system.

    Citizens, farmers, and funders will be inspired to use the tools and shovel-ready solutions presented in this important new book to transform degraded lands around the world into productive carbon-storing landscapes.

    Hardcover $75.00

    PUB DATE February 22, 2016

    PUBLISHER Chelsea Green Publishing

  2. Edible Forest Gardens, Volume I

    By Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier

    Edible Forest Gardens is a groundbreaking two-volume work that spells out and explores the key concepts of forest ecology and applies them to the needs of natural gardeners in temperate climates. Volume I lays out the vision of the forest garden and explains the basic ecological principles that make it work. In Volume II, Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier move on to practical considerations: concrete ways to design, establish, and maintain your own forest garden. Along the way they present case studies and examples, as well as tables, illustrations, and a uniquely valuable "plant matrix" that lists hundreds of the best edible and useful species.

    Taken together, the two volumes of Edible Forest Gardens offer an advanced course in ecological gardening--one that will forever change the way you look at plants and your environment.

    Hardcover $75.00

    PUB DATE August 30, 2005

    PUBLISHER Chelsea Green Publishing

  3. Edible Forest Gardens, Volume II

    By Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier

    Edible Forest Gardens is a groundbreaking two-volume work that spells out and explores the key concepts of forest ecology and applies them to the needs of natural gardeners in temperate climates. Volume I lays out the vision of the forest garden and explains the basic ecological principles that make it work. In Volume II, Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier move on to practical considerations: concrete ways to design, establish, and maintain your own forest garden. Along the way they present case studies and examples, as well as tables, illustrations, and a uniquely valuable "plant matrix" that lists hundreds of the best edible and useful species.

    Taken together, the two volumes of Edible Forest Gardens offer an advanced course in ecological gardening--one that will forever change the way you look at plants and your environment.

    Hardcover $75.00

    PUB DATE October 20, 2005

    PUBLISHER Chelsea Green Publishing

  4. Edible Forest Gardens: 2 Volume Set

    By Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier

    Edible Forest Gardens is a groundbreaking two-volume work that spells out and explores the key concepts of forest ecology and applies them to the needs of natural gardeners in temperate climates. Volume I lays out the vision of the forest garden and explains the basic ecological principles that make it work. In Volume II, Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier move on to practical considerations: concrete ways to design, establish, and maintain your own forest garden. Along the way they present case studies and examples, as well as tables, illustrations, and a uniquely valuable "plant matrix" that lists hundreds of the best edible and useful species.

    Taken together, the two volumes of Edible Forest Gardens offer an advanced course in ecological gardening-one that will forever change the way you look at plants and your environment.

    What is an edible forest garden?
    An edible forest garden is a perennial polyculture of multipurpose plants. Most plants regrow every year without replanting: perennials. Many species grow together: a polyculture. Each plant contributes to the success of the whole by fulfilling many functions: multipurpose. In other words, a forest garden is an edible ecosystem, a consciously designed community of mutually beneficial plants and animals intended for human food production. Edible forest gardens provide more than just a variety of foods. The seven F's apply here: food, fuel, fiber, fodder, fertilizer, and "farmaceuticals," as well as fun. A beautiful, lush environment can be a conscious focus of your garden design, or a side benefit you enjoy

    Hardcover $150.00

    PUB DATE November 15, 2005

    PUBLISHER Chelsea Green Publishing

  5. Edible Perennial Gardening

    By Anni Kelsey
    Foreword by Eric Toensmeier

    Do you dream of a low-maintenance perennial garden that is full to the brim of perennial vegetables that you don’t have to keep replanting, but have only a small space? Do you want a garden that doesn’t take much of your time and that needs little attention to control the pests and diseases that eat your crops? Do you want to grow unusual vegetable varieties? You can have all of this with Edible Perennial Gardening.

    Anni Kelsey has meticulously researched the little-known subject of edible perennials and selected her favorite, tasty varieties. She explains how to source and propagate different vegetables, which plants work well together in polycultures, and what you can plant in small, shady, or semi shady beds, as well as in sunny areas. It includes:

     • Getting started and basic principles

    • Permaculture, forest gardening, and natural farming

    • Growing in polycultures

    • How to chose suitable leafy greens, alliums, roots, tubers, and herbs

    • Site selection and preparation

    • Building fertility

    • Low-maintenance management strategies

    If you long for a forest garden but simply don’t have the space for tree crops, or want to grow a low-maintenance edible polyculture, this book will explain everything you need to know to get started on a new gardening adventure that will provide you with beauty and food for your household and save you money.

    Paperback $22.95

    PUB DATE April 25, 2014

    PUBLISHER Permanent Publications

  6. Paradise Lot

    By Eric Toensmeier and Jonathan Bates

    When Eric Toensmeier and Jonathan Bates moved into a duplex in a run-down part of Holyoke, Massachusetts, the tenth-of-an-acre lot was barren ground and bad soil, peppered with broken pieces of concrete, asphalt, and brick. The two friends got to work designing what would become not just another urban farm, but a "permaculture paradise" replete with perennial broccoli, paw paws, bananas, and moringa—all told, more than two hundred low-maintenance edible plants in an innovative food forest on a small city lot. The garden—intended to function like a natural ecosystem with the plants themselves providing most of the garden's needs for fertility, pest control, and weed suppression—also features an edible water garden, a year-round unheated greenhouse, tropical crops, urban poultry, and even silkworms.

    In telling the story of Paradise Lot, Toensmeier explains the principles and practices of permaculture, the choice of exotic and unusual food plants, the techniques of design and cultivation, and, of course, the adventures, mistakes, and do-overs in the process. Packed full of detailed, useful information about designing a highly productive permaculture garden, Paradise Lot is also a funny and charming story of two single guys, both plant nerds, with a wild plan: to realize the garden of their dreams and meet women to share it with. Amazingly, on both counts, they succeed.

    Paperback $19.95

    PUB DATE January 25, 2013

    PUBLISHER Chelsea Green Publishing

  7. Perennial Vegetable Gardening with Eric Toensmeier (DVD)

    By Eric Toensmeier

    Imagine growing vegetables that require just about the same amount of care as perennial flowers and shrubs, need no annual tilling or planting, yet thrive and produce abundant and nutritious crops throughout the season.

    In this DVD—a culmination of workshops recorded in Mexico, Florida, and Massachusetts—plant specialist Eric Toensmeier introduces gardeners to more than 100 species of little-known, underappreciated plants. Ranging beyond the usual suspects (asparagus, rhubarb, and artichoke) to include such delights as ground cherry, ramps, air potatoes, the fragrant spring tree, and the much-sought-after, antioxidant-rich wolfberry (also known as the goji berry), Toensmeier explains how to raise, tend, harvest, and cook with plants that yield great crops and culinary satisfaction. Toensmeier also takes viewers on a plant-by-plant tour of his garden in Massachusetts.

    In Toensmeier's book, Perennial Vegetables (Chelsea Green, 2007), the adventurous gardener will find information, tips, and sound advice on less-common edibles that will make any garden a perpetual, low-maintenance source of food. In his book, readers will find perennial vegetables are perfect as part of an edible-landscape plan or permaculture garden. Profiling more than a hundred species, with dozens of color photographs and illustrations, and filled with valuable growing tips, recipes, and resources, Perennial Vegetables is a groundbreaking and ground-healing book that will open the eyes of gardeners everywhere to the exciting world of edible perennials.

    DVD $29.95

    PUB DATE December 01, 2012

    PUBLISHER Chelsea Green Publishing

  8. Perennial Vegetables

    By Eric Toensmeier

    There is a fantastic array of vegetables you can grow in your garden, and not all of them are annuals. In Perennial Vegetables the adventurous gardener will find information, tips, and sound advice on less common edibles that will make any garden a perpetual, low-maintenance source of food.

    Imagine growing vegetables that require just about the same amount of care as the flowers in your perennial beds and borders—no annual tilling and potting and planting. They thrive and produce abundant and nutritious crops throughout the season. It sounds too good to be true, but in Perennial Vegetables author and plant specialist Eric Toensmeier (Edible Forest Gardens) introduces gardeners to a world of little-known and wholly underappreciated plants. Ranging beyond the usual suspects (asparagus, rhubarb, and artichoke) to include such "minor" crops as ground cherry and ramps (both of which have found their way onto exclusive restaurant menus) and the much sought after, anti-oxidant-rich wolfberry (also known as goji berries), Toensmeier explains how to raise, tend, harvest, and cook with plants that yield great crops and satisfaction.

    Perennial vegetables are perfect as part of an edible landscape plan or permaculture garden. Profiling more than 100 species, illustrated with dozens of color photographs and illustrations, and filled with valuable growing tips, recipes, and resources, Perennial Vegetables is a groundbreaking and ground-healing book that will open the eyes of gardeners everywhere to the exciting world of edible perennials.

    Paperback $35.00

    PUB DATE May 16, 2007

    PUBLISHER Chelsea Green Publishing

  9. Perennial Vegetables & Perennial Vegetable Gardening with Eric Toensmeier (Book & DVD Bundle)

    By Eric Toensmeier

    Imagine growing vegetables that require just about the same amount of care as perennial flowers and shrubs, need no annual tilling or planting, yet thrive and produce abundant and nutritious crops throughout the season.

    Get the best information on growing these easy and interesting crops from Eric Toensmeier's award-winning book Perennial Vegetables, and tour his own lush forest garden in the new DVD, Perennial Vegetable Gardening with Eric Toensmeier

    About Perennial Vegetables:

    In Toensmeier's book, Perennial Vegetables (Chelsea Green, 2007), the adventurous gardener will find information, tips, and sound advice on less-common edibles that will make any garden a perpetual, low-maintenance source of food. In his book, readers will find perennial vegetables are perfect as part of an edible-landscape plan or permaculture garden. Profiling more than a hundred species, with dozens of color photographs and illustrations, and filled with valuable growing tips, recipes, and resources, Perennial Vegetables is a groundbreaking and ground-healing book that will open the eyes of gardeners everywhere to the exciting world of edible perennials.

    About Perennial Vegetable Gardening with Eric Toensmeier (DVD):

    In the DVD—a culmination of workshops recorded in Mexico, Florida, and Massachusetts—plant specialist Eric Toensmeier introduces gardeners to more than 100 species of little-known, underappreciated plants. Ranging beyond the usual suspects (asparagus, rhubarb, and artichoke) to include such delights as ground cherry, ramps, air potatoes, the fragrant spring tree, and the much-sought-after, antioxidant-rich wolfberry (also known as the goji berry), Toensmeier explains how to raise, tend, harvest, and cook with plants that yield great crops and culinary satisfaction. Toensmeier also takes viewers on a plant-by-plant tour of his garden in Massachusetts.

    Mixed media product $59.95

    PUB DATE December 01, 2012

    PUBLISHER Chelsea Green Publishing

  10. Silvopasture

    By Steve Gabriel
    Foreword by Eric Toensmeier

    A system for regenerating land, storing carbon, and creating climate resilience

    The concept of silvopasture challenges our notions of both modern agriculture and land use. For centuries, European settlers of North America have engaged in practices that separate the field from the forest, and even the food from the animal. Silvopasture systems integrate trees, animals, and forages in a whole-system approach that offers a number of benefits to the farmer and the environment. Such a system not only offers the promise of ecological regeneration of the land, but also an economical livelihood and even the ability to farm extensively while buffering the effects of a changing climate: increased rainfall, longer droughts, and more intense storm events.

    Silvopasture, however, involves more than just allowing animals into the woodlot. It is intentional, steeped in careful observation skills and flexible to the dynamics of such a complex ecology. It requires a farmer who understands grassland ecology, forestry, and animal husbandry. The farmer needn’t be an expert in all of these disciplines, but familiar enough with them to make decisions on a wide variety of time scales. A silvopasture system will inevitably look different from year to year, and careful design coupled with creativity and visioning for the future are all part of the equation.

    In this book, farmer Steve Gabriel offers examples of diverse current systems that include:

    • A black locust plantation for fence posts coupled with summer grazing pastures for cattle in central New York;
    • Oxen and pigs used to clear forested land in New Hampshire to create space for new market gardens and orchards;
    • Turkeys used for controlling pests and fertilization on a cider orchard and asparagus farm in New York; and
    • Sheep that graze the understory of hybrid chestnut and hickory trees at a nut nursery in Minnesota.

    All of these examples share common goals, components, and philosophies. The systems may take several years to establish, but the long-term benefits include healthier animals and soils, greater yields, and the capacity to sequester atmospheric carbon better than forests or grasslands alone.

    For all these reasons and more, Silvopasture offers farmers an innovative and ecological alternative to conventional grazing practice.

    Paperback $39.95

    PUB DATE June 14, 2018

    PUBLISHER Chelsea Green Publishing