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Gardening for the Future of the Earth Paperback – January 4, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Editor Shapiro, director of the organic seed company Seeds of Change, and writer Harrisson combine the techniques and philosophies of great pioneers of organic and sustainable gardening. Gardeners who have learned to work with rather than against nature include Bill Mollison, an Australian devotee of permaculture, and John Jeavons, who discusses how to create good soil, the most important element of gardening. Wes Jackson advocates perennial polyculture to increase produce yield without using toxic chemical fertilizers that upset nature's balance, while Carol Deppe explains how to save seeds for breeding to create disease-resistant plants. The authors stress the critical need for restoring earth that has been badly damaged by current agricultural practices. Despite a tenfold increase in insecticide use in the U.S. since 1945, the editors note, crop loss due to insects has doubled. If the depletion of the earth isn't halted, they argue, it may be a mere 15 to 25 years before modern commercial agriculture crashes. Hope balances the doom, however, as each author carefully and enthusiastically explains how ordinary gardeners and homeowners can tip the balance toward a healthier earth and food supply. (Jan.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Author and BBC organic gardening expert Flowerdew's book, beautifully illustrated with color photographs, introduces organic gardening principles, techniques, and pest controls. He also demonstrates how to grow flowers, herbs, vegetables, and fruit organically. The fruit and vegetable sections include specific cultural information and recommended cultivars, while less information is available on flowers, shrubs, and herbs. Because of its British slant and the relatively brief cultural information included, North American gardeners may prefer books from Rodale's "Successful Organic Gardening" series, which cover everything from perennials to herbs to vegetables in separate volumes. Beginners will also find Maria Rodale's Organic Gardening (Rodale, 1998) or Karan Davis Cutler's Burpee: The Complete Vegetable & Herb Gardener (IDG, 1998) good introductions to the organic method. Shapiro, agricultural director of Seeds of Change (an organic seed company), and Harrisson, a freelance writer, introduce a selection of ecologically sensitive methods of farming applicable to home gardeners. Biointensive, kinship, biodynamic, and permaculture gardening systems are profiled. The authors also include suggestions on how to conserve soil and water and stress the need to preserve genetic diversity through growing plants and saving their seeds or plant breeding, offering techniques for both. There is also an interesting discussion of the problems created by current chemical-based farming practices and the techniques that can be used to alleviate these problems. Recommended for those interested in alternative organic farming and gardening practices.ASue O'Brien, Downers Grove P.L., IL
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (January 4, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553375334
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553375336
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #834,787 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Dick Pierce on April 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
Howard Shapiro has done the organic gardener and the "thinking about it someday" armchair novice a great favor. He has read most of the good books for you; extensively interviewed and visited with the giants of the subject; and, he has added his own considerable wisdom and experience with Seeds of Change, to provide us with a great, concise volume on sustainable gardening and systems. "Gardening for the Future of the Earth" is also very serious about its title; Shapiro sprinkles the text with anecdotes and data about the huge genetic, environmental, health, and cultural impacts of modern chemical factory farming - his personal time line is 20 years until the world, all of it, is in serious trouble.
It has taken me over 7 years (and several hundred dollars) of intense interest and reading: to be exposed to Bill Mollison, the Tasmanian curmudgeon and genius who coined the term permaculture; to find his mentor/idol, Massanobu Fukuoka, the author of the "One Straw Revolution" and pioneer of intercropping rice and barley in Japan; to heed the teachings of John Jeavons and his Bio-Intensive, double digging techniques- a savior in the gumbo clay soil of Austin, TX; to uncover the amazing, successful, and almost occult practices of the Biodynamic techniques from the brilliant but difficult writings of Rudolph Steiner in the 1920's; to kindle an interest in perennial farming systems, which was Nature's way in our Midwest (prairie) until two centuries ago from Wes Jackson of the Land Institute in Salina, KS; and, to just start to fathom the import of Alan Kapuler's words on the crisis that is upon us in bio-diversity and the declining gene pool.
A whole library in one volume! A pleasant read!
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Susannah Faith on March 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
A MUST READ! This book should be required reading for all people everywhere! Gardening for the Future of the Earth is very easy to read and very easy to implement. It tells us not only what is wrong, but actually gives ways (easy, do-able ways) to do our part in helping and healing the earth. We all to need to do our part and we need to do it **before** we don't have any parts left. I hope everyone enjoys this book as much as I have.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Dianne Foster HALL OF FAME on October 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
Day after day many of us read about the destruction of our planet: farm land covered over with environmentally unfriendly golf courses and asphalt or destroyed by huge pesticide driven agribusinesses; water supplies contaminated with arsenic and ecoli; air polluted with everything from asbestos to zinc; wetlands destroyed by pesticides and developers; dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico; old growth forests pillaged by greedy corporations; and thousands of species of plants and animals on the brink of extinction including the Orca Whale symbol of the West Coast Indians.
GARDENING FOR THE FUTURE briefly describes these destructive practices (and cites Al Gore's EARTH IN THE BALANCE) but it also shows us a better way. You should continue to support those organizations waging the good fight in Washington and elsewhere -- AND buy this book, read this book, and light one candle by turning your own yard into a living example of a better way. You can do it. I've done it and it works. Not only that, once you get your yard converted you will never have to mow grass again.
I've been farming organically for ages and had encountered and put into practice many of the ideas put forth in this book but this book brings all these ideas together. The authors have assembled thoughts of the "experts" in fighting the environmental battle on the homefront--your yard. Think Victory Gardens. Each of us can make a contribution to the "war" effort. Each of us can begin to turn our garden plots, no matter how big or small, into a "piece of the action" -- gardening for the future of the earth.
You can grow vegetables organically and replenish the soil and eschew the use of pesticides and herbicides and other killers -- I know I've done it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By daughternature on August 2, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a truly wonderful book and a very good read for anyone interested in the well being of the earth. Subjects such as permaculture, improving soil, water harvesting, seed saving and the importance of seed diversity are all discussed here with input from some of the masters on these subjects.
This book is not only a reminder of the damage that we have done to the earth but also an inspiration so that we may change our ways and improve the environment. One quote that stuck with me from this book is from E. O. Wilson ..."what humanity is doing now in a single lifetime (to our planet) will impoverish our descendents for virtually all time to come." Having said this, take this book, read it, practice what you have learned and share this info with all you know. As individuals, we can do our part to make a difference for the future.
Much appreciation goes to Seeds of Change organization for their efforts in bringing the importance of seed diversity and other environmental issues to our attention. I think they've done a great job with this book.
On a similiar subject, I found "Gaia's Garden" and "Forest Gardening" both to be very good reads as well.
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