About the Author

Tom Fortier is an organic landscape professional, designer and teacher. He spent his early childhood with his family in a peasant Chinese farming village that had been carved out of the rainforest of Borneo. On his return to the states, he entered the Garden City Waldorf School where his mother was a teacher. His early experiences of organic gardening and wilderness camping with his family and on his own, fostered a lifelong love and study of nature, and trained him in the varied practices of nature stewardship.
Tom received a BA in Biological Sciences at Adelphi University in 1976, studying with Dr. George Russell, one of the founders of Orion nature magazine. He became interested in the Bio-Dynamic Agricultural methods and realized that farms had to work toward becoming diverse, self-contained ecosystems to be healthy. His study of ecology took him to the Biological Control Lab of the University of California at Berkeley in 1978, where he spent a year in the field of applied Entomology. He subsequently worked with 19 cotton farmers on 2500 ac. in the San Joaquin Valley, successfully developing ecological farming methods to manage cotton insect pests without pesticides. He then went to British Columbia and earned a master’s degree from Simon Fraser University studying ecological apple orchard management in 1980. His travels and master’s research focussed on apple growing regions from Maine to Georgia.
After his formal education, Tom joined Cresset Dairy Farm in upstate New York as an apprentice to learn Bio-Dynamic farming first hand. In 1982, he moved to Rhode Island to apprentice under Heinz Grotzke at Meadowbrook Herb Garden, which was also, at the time, the publishing center of the Bio-Dynamic Association in America. In 1984, he bought the Herb Garden, which he operated with his wife for another ten years. He developed a long-standing and very well attended Organic Gardening Workshop series and taught at the URI Master Gardener Program.
After Meadowbrook, Tom became the superintendent of Wilcox Park in Westerly, where he hosted and taught arboriculture courses for the attendees of the RI Tree Steward program. The love of teaching drew him back to his Waldorf roots and he joined the faculty of the Potter Hill Waldorf School as a class teacher in 1997. For six years, he taught his elementary and preschool classes and also developed and directed the other classes in a Stewardship Program on the campus in which the children learned to be responsible for the flock of chickens, half a dozen sheep, two cows and two donkeys.
Since the closure of school in 2004, Tom operates Greenway TLC (tree and landscape care) an organic landscape company focussed on designing and managing beautiful and ecologically sound home landscapes. He is also the founding president of Friends Of Canonchet Farm, a non-profit stewardship organization in Narragansett.
Tom is a practitioner of meditation and a lifelong student of the spiritual works of ancient and modern initiates. He is a font of practical and inspired understanding and speaks from a synthesis of the two that spans many decades of applied work in the world.

One thought on “About the Author

  1. Andrea Morgan

    It’s interesting to discover the influences which have shaped your life path, Thomas.
    I have a back garden which I want to make more beautiful & productive. I am thinking about a permaculture approach. Coming into our southern hemisphere autumn should be a good time to make a start!…


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