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.

It is hoped that Plants For a Future will stimulate interest in these plants; help us increase the range of foods in our diet; and encourage experimentation with well known and unfamiliar species.

“It is hard to over-estimate the importance and likely impact of this book. 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. The result of an insatiable curiosity and years of painstaking research.”
Professor George Monbiot, environmental campaigner, founder of The Land Is Ours. 

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Book Details

Published: 2nd edition reprinted 2011 (first published 1997)

ISBN: 978 1 85623 011 7

Size: 235mm x 165mm

Format: Paperback, 310pp. 47 colour & 14 b/w photographs; 2 line drawings


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 trialing over 2,000 unusual species which are edible or have other uses, with a further 7,000 compiled on their database. This is exciting and pioneering work has important implications to the way in which we look at producing food, both in our gardens and agriculturally.

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