Plants for Future - The Ferns

Plants for Future - The Ferns

This national treasure is home to thousands of varieties of edible plants and showcases the great diversity of food we could be growing in the UK. A haven for wildlife, with little disturbance taking place in the soil, this forest garden will have been evolving towards greater natural health and harmony, strongly positively impacting the environment for miles around. 

The site was established by two very remarkable people - Ken and Addy Fern in 1989, who had the great foresight to see the need for research and further exploration with this kind of food system.

It was after reading Ken Fern's book ‘Plants for a Future’, that my interest in perennial food systems began. So a large part of the inspiration for starting Biome Box came from this very special place and Ken and Addy Fern.  

The diversity of plants on this site, is truly outstanding and goes to show how many species we could be including in our daily diet to diversify and support the human microbiome and consequently our health. Not only this, but systems like this feed the soil a diverse array of nutrients that leads to healthier, more biodiverse soil and this better supports the diversity of health above ground too. 

This site is quite simply one of our most important, yet seemingly hidden national treasures and really must be cherished and appreciated for its incredible contribution to restoring biodiversity, whilst also produced diverse plant foods. 

Taken from the 'Plants for a Future' book:

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.

I highly recommend the collection of Plants for a Future books to anyone interested in growing their own food, or in making better food choices to support planetary regeneration

Here is the link to buy their main book direct:

http://plantsforafuture.theferns.info/pfaf-book/

Below is review of the book by George Monbiot:

"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 is hard to overestimate the importance and likely impact of this book. Plants For A Future hugely widens the range of edible species which we can, with confidence, grow in temperate climates. 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."

The site is looking to further develop it's educational facilities and strictly by prior arrangement or appointment is open to people visiting, volunteering and finding out more about the plants. Please contact them to find out more. 

Find out more about the Plants for a Future Site here:

http://plantsforafuture.theferns.info/

You can find the results of their ongoing research in the database on the plants for a future charity site here:

https://pfaf.org/user/AboutUs.aspx

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