The way we currently produce our food is damaging both to ourselves and our planet: we need to create gardens, woodlands and farms which are in harmony with nature. Though all natural ecosystems provide excellent examples to follow, Plants for a Future specifically focuses on edible species, suggesting a wide variety of easily grown perennials and self-seeding annuals which produce delicious and healthy food. Describing edible and other useful plants, both native to Britain and Europe, and from other temperate areas around the world, Plants for a Future includes those suitable for: the ornamental garden, the lawn, shady areas, ponds, walls, hedges, agroforestry and conservation. It offers alternative methods of growing these plants in ways that are in harmony with the local environment and can help to improve the overall health of the planet. In his thoroughly useful book, Ken Fern shares his experiments and successes in growing herbs, vegetables, flowers, shrubs and trees. Packed with information, personal anecdotes and detailed appendices and indexes, this pioneering book takes gardening, conservation and ecology into a new dimension.
Ken Fern has always been a plant enthusiast. Over the years he has experimented with, and compiled information on, a huge number of useful, unusual plants. With an increasing concern for the state of agriculture and the health of our planet, Ken decided to downshift from his job as a bus driver for London Transport in the early 1990s and move to Cornwall to establish the pioneering charity, Plants For A Future. With the help of Ken's vast experience and encyclopaedic knowledge, Plants For A Future have now been trialling over 2,000 unusual species which are edible or have other uses, with a further 7,000 compiled on their database.
"Ken Fern leads us through a garden of improbable delights – cold climate yams five feet long, edible fuschia fruits, trees laden with delicious berries all through the winter, leaves and flowers with the most subtle and astonishing flavours. It shows us how to use land more efficiently and sustainably than ever before, and it brings to our sadly limited cuisine a vast new range of remarkable foods, all around the year. It is, in short, the first shot in an impending horticultural revolution. The result of an insatiable curiosity and years of painstaking research, this book is comparable in stature only to the works of Evelyn and Culpeper."
– George Monbiot
"Ken's enthusiasm and pertinent, honest observations make his writing as easily digested as the edible plants he loves. I'm delighted that this treasure trove of information has been marshalled between book covers and so made more accessible and preserved for future generations."
– Joy Larkcom
"In the 1970s British bus driver Ken Fern went back to the land. Twenty-five years later he published the first edition of this now-revised compendium, a catalog and guide to a staggering number of mostly-perennial plants that can be harvested for food and other uses. Literally, thousands of seed, root, fruit, flower and leaf crops from a range of bulbs, trees, shrubs, climbers, bamboos, water plants and more. While much of the info from the book is available online, the printed format can be easier to peruse and digest. There are sections on 'green manures' and how to mulch with cardboard boxes or newspaper and straw, as well as how to make a pond. Despite all the ideas and potential outlined in the book, the final chapter, 'Future Possibilities', truly emphasizes the magical allure of cultivation and experimentation."
– Steven Leckart, Cool Tools