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A Year of Foraging for Wild Food in the Suburbs
Reviewed by Maya Fleischmann
and Eric Brown, in their quest for a more self-sufficient
lifestyle, decided to spend a year incorporating foraged
food into their diet. Browsing Nature’s Aisles
tells the story of why and how they lived off the land,
and how the experience helped them become more in touch
with nature and all it has to offer.
this concerted foraging effort, the authors, a suburban
couple living on a quarter acre of land in Maine, had
only dabbled in foraging, enjoying maple syrup and blueberry
picking. “Wild edibles remained a curiosity, but
not a dietary staple,” they say, partly because
the selection of guidance books was sparse. As the couple
became increasingly aware and wary of genetically engineered
foods, food contamination, BPA-lined cans to store food,
increasing food costs, and food scarcity, they concluded
that “the logical choice seemed to be learning
to live off what Nature provided for free.”
couple’s adventures in foraging show that much
of the their knowledge about the subject came by “simple
observation followed by a flurry of research,”
which uncovered the bounty, but also the numerous complexities,
in nature’s offerings. For example, while nettle
leaves could be used as a salad-type dish, once they
are dried or dehydrated, they can also be used to make
tea or added as vitamin boosts to soups or stews. The
diversity of wild edibles includes foods derived from
hunting and gathering, such as bow-hunting the flock
of turkeys that landed on their property, or clamming
on the tidal flats.
narrative clearly conveys the authors’ growing
respect for nature as their observations become keen
and intuitive, as revealed in the chapter on trees:
“In the beginning, we never imagined that trees
had more to give than just the materials we took from
them. We have discovered that trees provide a wealth
of information about the weather, the coming growing
seasons and the population density of the animals that
rely on them for food.”
by David Kennedy
Price: 2011, $24.00, 257 pages.
Based on decades of research, this book explores the mostly
untapped potential of many leaf crops. With over 1,000
species of plants having edible leaves that are low in
calories, this is a large group underutilized for human
food. But not all greens have traits that are valuable
as human foods. Fibrous cell walls, strong flavors and
a societal dislike have restricted them in our diet today.
21st Century Greens will change how you look at and use
this valuable resource. Including how to grow, prepare
and preserve over 100 unique leaf crops. Discover a new
world of green leafy vegetables and how they can help
build the food system we need for the 21st Century.
a Forest Garden
by Martin Crawford 2010, 380pp,
if shipped with other books)
a Forest Garden gives readers all the information they need
to create their own multilayered garden of edible, and other
useful plants, along with plenty of background on the many
benefits of agroforestry.
a Forest Garden is suitable for readers growing in small gardens
or on much larger plots, including commercial growers. The
* How forest gardens work
* Designing the forest garden
* A comprehensive directory of over 500 trees, shrubs and
ground level plants suitable for the forest garden.
* Detailed advice on paths, windbreaks, harvesting, maintenance,
wildlife and pests.
a Forest Garden covers an exciting range of useful crops including
bamboo shoots, goji berries and yams alongside more familiar
fruits such as apples and raspberries.
Forest Garden Year with Martin Crawford 49
minutes, 2011, $22.50, DVD (Read
Review - PDF)
Fifteen years ago, inspired
by the pioneering work of Robert
Hart, gardener Martin Crawford
moved from conventional organic
gardening to creating a forest
garden from a bare field. Today
his garden is a wonderful example
of what can be done with a minimum
of effort to produce an abundant
crop of unusual edible trees,
plants, shrubs and ground cover.
You can apply the principles
of forest gardening to spaces
big and small. Here Martin takes
you through the seasons in his
Devon forest garden, and shows
you how to plan your planting
to mimic the layering, density
and diversity of a forest. A
wide variety of edible plants
can be grown: for example, Nepalese
raspberry, Siberian purslane,
Turkish rocket and
King Henry, lime trees (their leaves make a good salad),
bamboo (young shoots are tasty when steamed), snowbell
trees (for their fruit), mulberry and chokeberry. A Forest
Garden Year shows you how to graft an apple tree to crop
a variety of apples over several months, how to grow shiitake
mushrooms and perennial leeks, how to pollard and prune,
protect crops from wind, attract beneficial insects and
increase valuable minerals in the soil - all the while
creating a haven for yourself and for wildlife.
The Woodland Way 2nd Edition
by Ben Law
2013, 191pp, $30, all color
review - PDF)
book for everyone who loves trees
and woodlands. This completely revised
and updated edition of the 2001
classic is written from the heart
by an innovative woodsman who is
deeply committed to sustainability.
This radical book presents an immensely
practical alternative to conventional
his personal experience, Ben Law
clearly demonstrates how you can
create biodiverse, healthy environments,
yield a great variety of value added
products, provide secure livelihoods
for woodland workers and farmers,
and benefit the local community.
He argues the case for a new approach
to planning, encouraging the creation
of permaculture woodlands for the
benefit of people, the local environment
and the global climate.
Woodland Way contains: Woodlands
from wildwood in the 21st century;
The 21st century & the return
of the forest dweller; Woodland
assessment & management planning;
Establishing new woodlands; Management
of woodlands; From tree to finished
product; Food from the woods; Woodland
management and the law; and The
future of woodlands.
is a true pioneer and is, by example,
quite simply creating a woodland
renaissance in Britain." Hugh
with stunning colour photographs,
The Woodland Year is an intimate
month-by-month journey through Ben
Law's yearly cycle of work, his
naturally attuned lifestyle and
his deep understanding of his woods.
Each month also includes guest contributions
from woodlanders in other parts
of England and Wales. The Woodland
Year provides a fascinating insight
into every aspect of sustainable
woodland management; the cycles
of nature, seasonal tasks, wild
food gathering, wine making, mouthwatering
and useful recipes, coppice crafts,
round pole timber frame eco-building
(pioneered by Ben in the UK), nature
conservation, species diversity,
tree profiles and the use of horses
for woodland work. This is a profound
book that is both practical and
poetic. It describes a way of life
that is economically and ecologically
viable and sets a new standard for
managing our woods in a low impact,
sustainable way. As such, it holds
some of the fundamental keys to
how we can achieve a lower carbon
of Ben Law's remarkable gifts, besides
being arguably Britain's greatest
living woodsman, is a knack for
inspiring others. The Woodland Year
is a month-by-month journey through
Ben's woodland in the Sussex Weald,
and a celebration of every aspect
of sustainable woodland management.
In words that are often lyrical
but always ungilded, he describes
a way of life that is both economically
and ecologically viable. As such,
it holds some of the fundamental
keys to how we can achieve a more
sustainable, lower carbon society.
Ben is a true pioneer and is quite
simply creating a woodland renaissance
in Britain. Read this, and you will
surely want to be part of it. --From
the Foreword by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
Forest Gardens Volume
1 & 2
by Dave Jacke with Eric Toensmeier, 8 x 10, 450 pages, 520pp. $75ea., $135 for both (same
shipping rate for both volumes as for Vol 2 alone)
Volume I: Ecological Vision and Theory for Temperate-Climate
Permaculture, Volume II Ecological Design and Practice for Temperate-Climate
edible forest gardening is the art and science of putting
plants together in woodland-like patterns that forge mutually
beneficial relationships, creating a garden ecosystem that
is more than the sum of its parts. You can grow fruits, nuts,
vegetables, herbs, mushrooms,
useful plants, and animals in a way that mimics natural
ecosystems. You can create a beautiful, diverse, high-yield
garden that is largely self-maintained.
Forest Gardens is a groundbreaking two-volume work that
spells out and explores the key concepts of forest ecology
and applies them to the needs of natural gardeners in
temperate climates. Volume I lays out the vision of
the forest garden and explains the basic ecological
principles that make it work. In Volume II, Dave Jacke
and Eric Toensmeier move on to practical considerations:
concrete ways to design, establish, and maintain your
own forest garden. Along the way they present case studies
and examples, as well as tables, illustrations, and
a uniquely valuable “plant matrix” that
lists hundreds of the best edible and useful species.
together, the two volumes of Edible ForestGardens offer
an advanced course in ecological gardening—one
that will forever change the way you look at plants
and your environment.
the Authors: Dave Jacke is the owner of Dynamics Ecological
Design Associates and a longtime permaculture teacher
and designer. He lives in Keene, New Hampshire. Eric
Toensmeier is a plant researcher, agricultural educator,
author of Perennial
Vegetables and Paradise
Lot, and permaculturist who lives in Holyoke, Massachusetts.
by Paul Stamets
less pollution! Yes, you heard right: growing more mushrooms
may be the best thing we can do to save the environment. Microscopic
cells called "mycelium"—the fruit of which
are mushrooms —recycle carbon, nitrogen, and other essential
elements as they break down plant and animal debris in the
creation of rich new soil. What fungi expert Paul Stamets
has discovered is that mycelium also breaks down hydrocarbons
—the base structure in many pollutants. So, for instance,
when soil contaminated with diesel oil is inoculated with
strains of oyster mushroom mycelia, the soil loses its toxicity
in just eight weeks. In MYCELIUM RUNNING, Stamets discusses
revolutionary trend in mushroom cultivation and provides tips
for choosing the appropriate species of fungi for various
a physician and practitioner of integrative medicine, I find
this book exciting and optimistic because it suggests new,
nonharmful possibilities for solving serious problems that
affect our health and the health of our environment. Paul
Stamets has come up with those possibilities by observing
an area of the natural world most of us have ignored. He has
directed his attention to mushrooms and mycelium and has used
his unique intelligence and intuition to make discoveries
of great practical import. I think you will find it hard not
to share the enthusiasm and passion he brings to these pages."
– From the foreword by Andrew Weil, MD, author of Eating
Well for Optimum Health
is a visionary emissary from the fungus kingdom to our world,
and the message he's brought back in this book, about the
possibilities fungi hold for healing the environment, will
fill you with wonder and hope." – Michael Pollan,
author of Botany of Desire
has done a unique public service. This visionary and practical
book should be an instant classic in the emerging science
of how to use nature's wisdom and fecundity to rescue the
earth and ourselves from the unwelcome consequences of human
cleverness." – Amory B. Lovins, CEO, Rocky
paradigm-changing book. Stamets' visionary insights are leading
to a whole new understanding of how mushrooms, scarcely seen
and rarely appreciated, regulate the earth's ecosystems."
– John Todd, Ph.D., University of Vermont and John
Todd Ecological Design
gospel of fungi containing crucial pragmatic solutions showing
us how to work with nature in order to heal nature."
– Kenny Ausubel, founder and co-executive director of
Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting,
and Preparing Edible Wild Plants
by Samuel Thayer 2005,
$23, 368pp (Read
Review - PDF)
A fine, rich guide to wild foods of
North America warmly written by a
master forager: uses, botany, habitat.
Provides detailed instructions and
personal experiences of harvesting
332 delicious plants, including butternut,
wild rice, ostrich fern, hog peanut,
cattail, and more. Get
the Forager's Harvest video here.
Guide to Identifying, Harvesting,
and Preparing Edible Wild Plants
by Samuel Thayer 2010, 512pp.,
guide to all aspects of edible wild plants: finding and identifying
them, their seasons of harvest, and their methods of collection
and preparation. Each plant is discussed in great detail and
accompanied by excellent color photographs. Includes an index,
illustrated glossary, bibliography, and harvest calendar.
The perfect guide for all experience levels.
has become the go-to book for students at the Jack Mountain
Bushcraft School. Nature’s Garden, builds upon the high
standard set by The Foragers Harvest and establishes him as
the leading authority and author on edible wild plants that
has ever published. It isn’t slightly better than other
books on the topic; it’s in a whole different league".
Tim Smith, M.Ed. Founder and Director of The
Jack Mountain Bushcraft School
Botany in a Day - The Patterns
Method of Plant Identification
Thomas J. Elpel's Herbal Field Guide
to Plant Families 5th
Edition, 2004, 221pp., $30 (Now
in full color!)
in a Day is changing the way people learn about plants!
Tom's book has gained a nationwide audience almost exclusively
by word-of-mouth. It is now used as a text and recommended
by herbal and wilderness schools across North America.
Instead of presenting individual plants, Botany in a
Day unveils the patterns of identification and uses
among related plants, giving readers simple tools to
rapidly unlock the mysteries of the new species they
encounter throughout the continent.
often people try to learn plants one-at-a-time, without
rhyme or reason. Now you can cut years off the process
of learning about plants and their uses. Tom's book
helps you beyond the piece-meal approach to botany and
herbalism towards a more "whole" approach.
Within 1 1/2 hours you can understand the big-picture
of botany and herbalism. Learn how related plants have
similar features for identification. Discover how they
often have similar properties and similar uses.
Backyard Beekeeper: An Absolute
Beginner's Guide to Keeping Bees
in Your Yard and Garden
by Kim Flottum 2005,
isn't just a guide to beekeeping or a honey cookbook; it's
both. No other book on the market provides an in-depth review
of beekeeping and what honey is good for and how to use it.
Beautifully illustrated, the Backyard Beekeeper is perfect
for the health-conscious person who wants to sweeten up their
life by saying no to processed sugars and yes to eating organic,
is the complete "honey bee" resource with general
information on bees; a how-to guide to the art of bee keeping
and how to set up, care for, and harvest your own hives; as
well as tons of fun facts and projects that are bee related.
The second half of the book is the complete guide to honey.
It reviews the different types of honey and their health effects
as well as provides hundreds of ideas and recipes for using
honey in recipes, cosmetically in facemasks and shampoos,
and for medicinal uses.
After receiving a degree in horticulture from UW Madison,
Kim Flottum worked four years in the USDA Honey Bee Research
Lab, studying pollination ecology. After that, he spent two
years raising acres of fruits and vegetables, where bees played
a large role. He brings this experience, plus nearly 20 years
of writing and editing articles for beekeepers in the monthly
magazine Bee Culture.
Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture
by Ross Conrad (Author), Gary Paul Nabhan (Foreword)
$35, 246pp., 2007
various chemicals used in beekeeping
have, for the past decades, held
Varroa Destructor, a mite, and other
major pests at bay, but chemical-resistance
is building and evolution threatens
to overtake the best that laboratory
chemists have to offer. In fact,
there is evidence that chemical
treatments are making the problem
worse. Natural Beekeeping flips
the script on traditional approaches
by proposing a program of selective
breeding and natural hive management.
brings together the best organic and natural approaches to
keeping honeybees healthy and productive here in one book.
Readers will learn about nontoxic methods of controlling mites,
eliminating American foulbrood disease (without the use of
antibiotics), breeding strategies, and many other tips and
techniques for maintaining healthy hives. Conrad's reservoir
of knowledge comes from years of experience and a far-flung
community of fellow beekeepers who are all interested in ecologically
sustainable apiculture. Specific concepts and detailed management
techniques are covered in a matter-of-fact, easy to implement
Beekeeping describes opportunities for the seasoned professional
to modify existing operations to improve the quality of hive
products, increase profits, and eliminate the use of chemical
treatments. Beginners will need no other book to guide them.
Whether you are an experienced apiculturist looking for ideas
to develop an Integrated Pest Management approach or someone
who wants to sell honey at a premium price, this is the book
you've been waiting for.
instructions to make your own round
hive for healthier bees.
40 pp, $7