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The Edible Ecosystem Solution (PDF)
Growing Biodiversity in Your Backyard and Beyond
Humans have always thrived in rich, diverse, edible ecosystems. Yet most cities and suburbs are blanketed by lawns, ornamentals, and a lack of biodiversity, let alone anything edible. It is within these sterile landscapes that seeds of an edible ecosystem lie.
The Edible Ecosystem Solution is a comprehensive, practical guidebook that looks at underutilized spaces to reveal the many opportunities for landscape transformation that are both far-reaching and immediately beneficial and enjoyable. Contents include:
- Hundreds of full-color infographics, illustrations, and photographs that clearly outline the principles and concepts of edible landscape design and benefits
- How to get started with as little as 25 square feet of land
- How to transition a garden plot into a place of edible abundance and an edible biodiversity hot spot, living laboratory, and a source point for transitioning and transforming community and culture
- Choosing appropriate plants for insects, wildlife, and food production
- Scaling up and networking backyard edible ecosystems at the neighborhood level and beyond to build community food security and resilience.
The Edible Ecosystem Solution is for everyone with access to a bit of yard, a desire for food security, biodiversity, and a beautiful and resilient community, and for anyone who wants to reclaim humanity's place in a rich, abundant, edible ecosystem.
Zach Loeks is an award-winning educator, designer, author, consultant, and grower who specializes in Edible Ecosystem Design around the world. He is the director of the Ecosystem Solution Institute and author of The Permaculture Market Garden. He lives in Cobden, Ontario.
"Zach Loeks uses a rich palette of strategies and species that make sense in his region, to inspire people everywhere to create an edible ecosystem in theirs, and so become more connected to and nourished by nature. This richly illustrated book brings the permaculture vision of a recreated Garden of Eden to new audiences ready to dive into their own edible ecosystems."
David Holmgren, co-originator of permaculture
"For most of human existence we learned to live by hunting and gathering from nature's abundance and generosity. Agriculture marked a fundamental shift in how we lived. Now, COVID-19 confronts us with how destructive and frail our globalized industrial food system has become. Resilience in an increasingly uncertain future demands that most of our food must be grown locally. In taking an ecological approach to growing our own plants for consumption, Zach Loeks provides an approach that will be vital in a warming world."
David Suzuki, award-winning geneticist, author, and broadcaster
"It's easy to think we could simply shift from polluting and strictly ornamental landscaping habits to ones that produce food and wildlife habitat, and with no greater level of thought, instantly return to paradise. Instead, this book is inviting us to the task of re-weaving ourselves and our communities into the web of life."
Jason Gerhardt, regenerative designer, Real Earth Design
"Zach Loeks has the uncanny ability to deep-dive visually in his writing for specific aspects of permaculture in a way that only a second generation permaculturist can. From his stunning illustrations, to his clear and engaging writing style, to his regenerative and inspiring meta-solutions, Zach has done it again!"
Matt Powers, ThePermacultureStudent.com
"Loeks invites us to take back our green spaces and convert them from simple places of ornamentation to a practical source of food for our families and communities and thereby transform our future, garden plot by garden plot."
Catalina Margulis, Harrowsmith Magazine
"Zach Loeks makes a compelling case for edible ecosystems and shows the ways in which our schools, colleges and universities can play a central role in this change. I can strongly recommend this book."
Alan Nash, Professor, Department of Geography, Planning and Environment, Concordia University
"Zach lays out a beautiful path to transform our homes and communities with edible ecosystems that improves our quality of life, creates food security, and increases biodiversity for the species we share our homes with. If every human who feels deep down that we need a new path forward used this guide, we could find ourselves in an ecological revolution."
Rob Greenfield, environmental activist, author, Food Freedom and Dude Making a Difference
"Our ancestors survived and thrived along ecological edges of edible abundance. Modern civilization has plowed and paved over biodiversity leaving impoverished landscapes. In The Edible Ecosystem Solution, author Zach Loeks provides tools and insights to restore edible abundance, resilience, and security to individual yards, community spaces, rural landscapes, and collectively, the world."
Thomas J. Elpel, author, Botany in a Day and Green Prosperity
"A great handbook to help you create a complete edible garden ecosystem by turning a small part of your yard into a veritable hotspot of biological diversity, regeneration, and culinary joy. The Edible Ecosystem Solution successfully preaches how to spread the benefits of your garden throughout your neighborhood and even the world."
Jeff Lowenfels, Lord of the Roots, author, the Teaming Trilogy and DIY Autoflowering Cannabis
"Educate, Propagate, Inspire, indeed! The Edible Ecosystem Solution is at once a work of art and a valuable tool in our journey towards an ecological society. Zach Loeks' rich illustrations and creative design breaks new ground in conveying permaculture concepts to the reader. His deep research and clear presentation inspire the reader to rediscover our ancient roots as ecosystem managers. I will certainly be adding this book to my permaculture design course reading list!"
Darrell E. Frey, Three Sisters Farm, author, Bioshelter Market Garden, co-author, The Food Forest Handbook
"Where most people see lots, grass, or property lines, Zach Loeks sees the potential for dynamic edible ecosystems, ones that can transform our cities and neighborhoods into regenerating, life-giving, health-giving natural bonanzas. Here is his primer and his blueprint for starting small and thinking big."
Florence Williams, author, The Nature Fix
"A beautifully-illustrated and approachable formula for creating abundance."
Michelle Avis, Verge Permaculture, co-author, Essential Rainwater Harvesting
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