Toby (4th from the right, top) with us in 2014

Toby (4th from the right, top) with us in 2014

“Permaculture gives us a toolkit for moving from a culture of fear and scarcity to one of love and abundance.” Toby Hemenway

April 23, 1952 – December 20, 2016


December brought a sad news: Toby Hemenway, permaculture activist, the author of Gaia’s Garden and The Permaculture City, and a supporter of our permaculture educational efforts in Solano County lost his battle with cancer.

We had the privilege to welcome Toby to Benicia in 2014 when he came to meet with our Benicia Sustainable Backyard team and to deliver a talk on permaculture to the community. We were just embarking on this journey of sustainable landscaping informed by permaculture, and to have this world-renowned author sit down with us and guide us was an important milestone for the organization.

I spoke with Toby for the last time in August, at one of his last public lectures. He was noticeably not feeling well, but still inquired about our progress in Benicia and was glad to hear the program was expanding to the entire county. He promised to recommend a few good speakers (which he did the following week!). It was Toby we always knew: inspiring, kind, attentive, warm and interested in the world…This is how we will remember him.

Toby’s legacy and his life’s work will continue to live in numerous permaculture gardens throughout the world, his books, his students, some of whom live and work in Solano, and through all the people he touched and inspired. Thank you, Toby.

You can view a video of when Toby’s talk with us here.


Elena Karoulina and the Sustainable Solano Team