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Robin Clayfield's permaculture revisited: great for foodie & greenie alike

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When Robin Clayfield first self-published You Can Have Your Permaculture and Eat it, Too back in 1996, she probably didn't have a clue how big the environmental movement would become in the next two decades. Her primary goal was "to be an inspiration for people to create interesting gardens and Permaculture systems, as well as grow more of their own food," but the educator in her also wanted to instill a desire in the reader to go beyond those exercises. Clayfield approached the latest updated revision of her book with this in mind, and the third edition of You Can Have Your Permaculture and Eat it, Too spans environmentalism, cooking, gardening, arts and crafts, and much, much more.

Her book has a dual focus; the first is that of an environmental handbook for harmonic living on the planet, and the second is about how to implement that environmental knowledge into one's everyday life, often with surprising bonuses. Clayfield realizes that knowledge by itself is useless, and has no value unless individuals can apply that knowledge in their lives; she makes sure there is no shortage of opportunity to do so in this book.

What Clayfield accomplishes, though, is no easy task; in addition to a detailed primer on permaculture's environmental principles and ethics, she illustrates how to use your harvest effectively in your kitchen, green your household and increase your personal economy. Cosmetics, food combining and preparation, turning your crops into cash income, entertaining, and numerous related applications are covered in Clayfield's substantial 254 page tome. Both the seasoned organic gardener and the newbie environmentalist will find having You Can Have Your Permaculture and Eat it, Too on their bookshelf a handy reference tool.

There's also something for the foodie, as well. Recipes for snacks like vine leaf rolls, honeyed carrots and lotus root, and nut rissoles are designed to get you integrating your garden with your dinner table. One can't help but become more aware of the value of nutritionally-dense, organic food and how it affects one's health when the yard becomes the supermarket. She also includes a chapter on edible flowers, creative aromatic and medicinal uses for herbs, and crafting.

Clayfield's book, however, may be a bit confusing at times for the non-Aussie reader; she covers many plant species that are common to Australia, but not North America (although many do grow well in similar climates). Fortunately, Clayfield lists both the common names of the plants and their proper latin taxonomy so there is no confusion for the reader, and they can find the right plants for their land.

Regardless of where the reader lives, the biodynamic and regenerative techniques of Clayfield's manual can be applied with great personal, environmental, and financial benefit to the reader. Ever the teacher, Clayfield says she hopes her book will "find it's way into every library and school across the country so people can access the information for free. I also imagine that many of them will end up very well used and tattered, like some from the first print run that I've seen in libraries and people's homes." With all the useful information packed into You Can Have Your Permaculture and Eat it, Too, there's no doubt Clayfield may see those hopes fulfilled.

You Can Have Your Permaculture and Eat it, Too is available in both paperback and a Kindle version.

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