Jonathan and Eric and their families manage a 1/10 acre urban backyard garden in Holyoke, Massachusetts. This edible landscape features little-used edible native plants as well as useful species from around the world. Over forty species of fruit and seventy perennials with edible leaves make for a long season of foraging. Many are arranged in an edible forest garden, an edible ecosystem composed of perennial polycultures of multipurpose plants. Other components include a tropical crop garden, edible water garden, poultry, annual beds, and bioshelter greenhouse with aquaponics under development. The book Paradise Lot tells the story of the development of the garden from a bare slab of ground to a diverse and productive demonstration.
Eric Toensmeier has studied and practiced permaculture since 1990. He is the author of Perennial Vegetables and coauthor of Edible Forest Gardens with Dave Jacke. Toensmeier has worked as a small-farm trainer at the New England Small Farm Institute, has managed the Tierra de Oportunidades new-farmer program of Nuestras Raices, and is a graduate and former faculty member of the Institute for Social Ecology in Plainfield, Vermont. His current interest is in large-scale permaculture farming as a carbon-sequestering solution to climate change. Toensmeier’s writing, consulting, and teaching business is based at www.perennialsolutions.org, where he posts his latest articles and videos. He lives in Holyoke, Massachusetts.
Inspired by his work with Eric Toensmeier and life at Paradise Lot, Jonathan Bates founded Food Forest Farm Permaculture Nursery (permaculturenursery.com), a nursery specializing in educational services and useful/edible plant sales. He has been studying, creating, and working with rural and urban gardens in the Connecticut River Valley for over a decade. With a bachelor’s degree in biology, and an MA in social ecology from the Institute for Social Ecology, Jonathan loves wild crafting with friends, and working with folks to better the world we live in. He cofounded and is a board member of the Apios Institute, is a teacher at the Yestermorrow Design/Build School, and is a farmer with Nuestras Raices, Inc. He is also a co-founder and teacher with PermacultureFEAST.org. He lives in Holyoke, Massachusetts.