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47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars essential information for sustanability
This book present little-known(mostly perennial) plants for temperate climates with practical uses particularly food. It is a call to rethink our food production to a more ecological model and an essential and technically rich handbook for doing so in your own garden. A readable and enthusiastic collection of information which you won't find so easily anywhere else, and...
Published on 21 Jan. 2001 by verdire@eircom.net

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars A good textbook, but not very entertaining to read
Interesting, but found this a bit hard work.
Published 9 months ago by RosyK


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47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars essential information for sustanability, 21 Jan. 2001
This review is from: Plants for a Future: Edible and Useful Plants for a Healthier World: 1 (Paperback)
This book present little-known(mostly perennial) plants for temperate climates with practical uses particularly food. It is a call to rethink our food production to a more ecological model and an essential and technically rich handbook for doing so in your own garden. A readable and enthusiastic collection of information which you won't find so easily anywhere else, and full of things you didn't know.
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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential for a productive garden, 22 Jun. 2006
By 
T. Manwaring "beyond driving" (Lancashire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Plants for a Future: Edible and Useful Plants for a Healthier World: 1 (Paperback)
This is a fascinating book for anyone who wants their garden to be as edible as possible. His own story is inspiring, and his wonderfully lazy approach to permaculture is refreshing. Much more than a list of plants, my copy of this book has been read cover to cover, and has now become a great reference for whenever I find a corner of my garden which is in need of something new. With information from planting to tasting notes, this book is the one I rely on. Well worth investing in.
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114 of 116 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoy the good life (oh, and help save the planet), 29 May 2005
This review is from: Plants for a Future: Edible and Useful Plants for a Healthier World: 1 (Paperback)
This is one of the handful of books that every gardener (and cook) should have. And I'm a professional gardener with almost 300 gardening books, so I've got more than most to choose from. It wouldn't hurt if some policy makers read it as well.
Ken Fern is a gardening pioneer. He's actually grown not just the dozens of perennial plants in this book, but hundreds more, all of them good to eat or do something useful with, and then shared his favourites.
Most of our food currently comes from a small number of annual plants such as wheat. Nothing wrong with annuals - I wouldn't like to live without tomatoes, or sunflower seeds, or wheat, come to that. But being overdependent on annuals means we have to start growing our crops all over again every year - and that means lots of hard work, and a bigger risk of crop failure in bad conditions. It also means less biomass, far fewer opportunities for other species, and above all far more soil erosion. And of course being dependent on only a few species and varieties is downright dangerous - in the classic example, even though it was made worse by uncaring landowners and politicians, the Irish famine was still originally caused by overdependence on one species and very few varieties.
Ken Fern's book is almost entirely dedicated to perennial species, and a huge diversity of them. His way of growing food means far less work, more resilience and food security, more biomass to absorb carbon dioxide, more wildlife, and almost no soil erosion. Think of fruit trees such as apples, nut trees such as walnuts, or herbs like rosemary and thyme. Think of willows for baskets. But Ken's gone further still, and found plants to give us perennial vegetables, edible flowers, unusual roots and tubers, edible water plants, and much more. The plants are often beautiful as well, so this isn't just utilitarian gardening. One of Ken's favourite edible flowers is the day lily featured on the cover.
There are 47 photos, though far more than 47 plants in the book - but they're excellent photos, and keeping the numbers down means the book's still affordable.
Plants For A Future is well written, too. Reading it is like having a good natter with a friend who just happens to be an expert gardener. (For pedants like me it's a pity the editor didn't stop the use of commas as if they were full stops or semi-colons, but for the sane unpedantic majority this won't matter at all.)
The main text is packed more full of information than most books many times its size, but when you add in the appendices, with all their checklists of plant uses, suggestions for further reading, useful contacts, and much more, Plants For A Future becomes perhaps the single most useful book for the sustainable food grower.
So get this book and get yourself some tasty easy pickings!
And there's always the superb Plants For A Future website, [...] for a taster.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow I didn't know that was edible!, 4 Dec. 2007
By 
Steph (Brighton, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Plants for a Future: Edible and Useful Plants for a Healthier World: 1 (Paperback)
A wonderful book that provides us with a new view on some of the most common, as well as unusual, plants available to grow in a temperate climate. It's focus is mostley on the edibility or medicinal use of a hudge variety of plants, a lot of them in your nearest garden centre. The growing conditions for each plant is also described making it an essential guide book to anybody with an interrest in gardening,natural medicine or food production. A Permaculture principle is for all things to be multifunctional. This books provides us with the information needed to finding other uses for plants than their beauty. Do not buy another plant without it!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful book on edible plants, 24 Jan. 2008
By 
P. Bessa - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Plants for a Future: Edible and Useful Plants for a Healthier World: 1 (Paperback)
This is a very good and useful book.
It is comparable to the quality of its website. WIth still lots of species, very very useful nature and well-written, down to the point and synthetic. With also a personal look and a bit of permaculture/ecological taste.
I give it 9 out of 10. A book that you must have.
However I think it could have a more inspiring and colorful design. It is good text, good presentation with a dozen pages of colorful pictures. Still its very worth to have it.
And if you think you have the website, there is nothing than having the book in physical form, which is more personal.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good reference book, 19 Sept. 2009
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This review is from: Plants for a Future: Edible and Useful Plants for a Healthier World: 1 (Paperback)
inspiring and educational, this book is a good accompaniment to the web site. the book is not an alphabetical listing of plants but rather it has chapters devoted to specific conditions such as "Ponds and bogs" so is helpful in designing your own garden. also has plenty for further reading and resources listed. the web site is a national treasure in my opinion!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, cant put it down!, 10 Nov. 2009
By 
Mr. James D. Read (Dorset, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Plants for a Future: Edible and Useful Plants for a Healthier World: 1 (Paperback)
I recently bought this book as an addition to the earth care manual (which is also very very good). It fills in all the gaps as far as plant choice goes, the book is written in a great way to, even if your not that familiar with permaculture or gardening and just starting out. Brilliant, inspiring, buy it!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have, 28 May 2009
By 
Andrew Mcewen - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Plants for a Future: Edible and Useful Plants for a Healthier World: 1 (Paperback)
I found the web site and was amazed. I looked around for the book for several months in many places trying to get one at a cheapo rate. Eventually I had to bite the bullet and buy one at a normal price. It's worth every penny. A fantastic book. If you want to check it out look at the website first. If you don't like the website you're not going to like the book. So why buy the book when the website is so good(probably better than the book). Because you may not always have the internet.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Future!!, 29 Oct. 2010
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This review is from: Plants for a Future: Edible and Useful Plants for a Healthier World: 1 (Paperback)
Really a must have book for anyone interested in permaculture, perennial food plants and growing unusual plants.

The book's a really exciting look at how abundant our gardens could be and the vast variety of delicious food we could be growing in the UK.

Go and see their site in Cornwall!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 10 May 2010
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This review is from: Plants for a Future: Edible and Useful Plants for a Healthier World: 1 (Paperback)
I should have bought this book ages ago. I find myself dipping into it all the time and coming back to it again and again when other books let me down!
Concise, clear, easy to read and understand. I don't know why this book is not on every plant lovers book-shelves!
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