By: Jeanette Origel
On Thursday February 5th, over 100 residents gathered at the First Church on Eliot Street for the Jamaica Plain Forum. The evening’s discussion was called “Redesigning Civilization,” featuring speaker Toby Hemenway.
The JP Forum welcomed world-renowned permaculture and ecology expert Toby Hemenway who spoke on “Why sustainable agriculture is an oxymoron and permaculture is a solution.”
Toby addressed the advantages of gardening as opposed to farming. Farming consumes land and requires the use of big machinery and fossil fuels. This means exhaust is released from these machines, therefore causing air pollution and climate change. Instead, Toby suggests to hoe and not plow.
He stated small scale farming, or gardening mixed crops, could be much more beneficial because it encourages succession and the ecosystem is still able to function. Keeping in mind to start small and grow gradually.
Toby also presented the audience ways in which permaculture could be accomplished and how to get started with ecologically based solutions that will allow humans to efficiently share the planet with nature.
A perfect example on doing this was a project he was involved with in the Bahamas. There, a septic tank was beautifully transformed into a garden. They accomplished this by creating a compost to provide nutrients to the plants from the septic waste.
As a result, the plants flourished in just weeks, leaving behind no odor and only nature’s beauty. This was a perfect example of humans sharing the planet with the rest of nature. He wants individuals to begin “understanding that there are concrete solutions” to improving our environment.
Toby Hemenway is the author of the 2011 Nautilus Gold Medal winner, “Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture.” It has also been the best-selling permaculture book in the world for the last eight years.
Toby will be releasing his new book on urban permaculture, “The Permaculture City” in mid-2015.