5 Tons of Flax

What the deuce!

Book: Gaia’s Garden

Posted by Jon on 4 June, 2007

I just finished reading (ok, skimming, because I won’t have the opportunity to do any of things in the book in the immediate future) Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home Scale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway. The book has a lot of useful discussion about how to create permaculture gardens that work with different terrains and environments. I’m particularly interested in greywater reclamation and the creation of food forests. One thing I would have liked the book to address more clearly is what options and permaculture ideas apply for small urban plots (e.g., our family is on a residential 5000 sq. foot lot, but about half of that is house/concrete. Moreover, when I move back out I’d like to go back to apartment living, and if I ever can afford a house, I’d prefer a smaller lot and much more overtly urban setting (e.g., around Hawthorne/Belmont in Portland as an example). I’m sure there are books dealing with this more specific niche, and Gaia’s Garden is definitely a general introduction, but some clearer focus on urban life would be nice to see.

More broadly, I’m becoming increasingly convinced that urban permaculture is critical to sustainability, particulalry with regards to peak oil/global warming issues. It also coincides nicely with Jane Jacobs’ ideas about urban life, which at some point I’ll be writing about in detail. The coiners of the term “permaculture” intended it to refer both to permanent agriculture and permanent culture – and I think urban design/ag/social issues/a range of other things need to be addressed holistically, so for now I’ll use the term as a catch-all for posts on these topics.


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