Eric Toensmeier has studied permaculture and useful plants of the world for over two decades. He is the award-winning author of Perennial Vegetables, and the coauthor of Edible Forest Gardens and Paradise Lot: Two Plant Geeks, One-Tenth of an Acre, and the Making of an Edible Garden Oasis in the City. An appointed lecturer at Yale University, and an international trainer, Toensmeier presents in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, and the Caribbean.
A founding board member of the Apios Institute for Regenerative Perennial Agriculture, Toensmeier also founded the Bosque Comestible project, an online Spanish-language user-generated database of useful perennials for Mesoamerica and the Caribbean, with an international team.
He ran an urban farm project for Nuestras Raíces in Holyoke, Massachusetts, providing access to land and startup assistance for Latino and refugee beginning farmers. He implemented a bilingual participatory design process with farmers, youth, and board members to develop the 30-acre farm site as a cultural agri-tourism destination. As project director, he realized the community vision with 25 leasehold farm enterprises, farm store, pig-roasting operation, equestrian business, and cultural events.
Toensmeier also provides consulting services on various aspects of useful plants, edible landscaping, food forestry enterprises, farm business start-up, perennial polycultures, and the application of permaculture design to economic development.
The urban garden Toensmeier created at his home is a model of how to apply permaculture to a small space with poor soils, featuring over 200 useful perennial and self-seeding species on one-tenth of an acre.