Chelsea Green Publishing

Rebuilding the Foodshed

Pages:360 pages
Book Art:8 pages of color illustrations
Size: 6 x 9 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781603584234
Pub. Date January 31, 2013

Rebuilding the Foodshed

How to Create Local, Sustainable, and Secure Food Systems

By Philip Ackerman-Leist
Foreword by Deborah Madison

Availability: In Stock

Paperback

Available Date:
January 31, 2013

$19.95

Droves of people have turned to local food as a way to retreat from our broken industrial food system. From rural outposts to city streets, they are sowing, growing, selling, and eating food produced close to home—and they are crying out for agricultural reform. All this has made "local food" into everything from a movement buzzword to the newest darling of food trendsters.

But now it's time to take the conversation to the next level. That's exactly what Philip Ackerman-Leist does in Rebuilding the Foodshed, in which he refocuses the local-food lens on the broad issue of rebuilding regional food systems that can replace the destructive aspects of industrial agriculture, meet food demands affordably and sustainably, and be resilient enough to endure potentially rough times ahead.

Changing our foodscapes raises a host of questions. How far away is local? How do you decide the size and geography of a regional foodshed? How do you tackle tough issues that plague food systems large and small—issues like inefficient transportation, high energy demands, and rampant food waste? How do you grow what you need with minimum environmental impact? And how do you create a foodshed that's resilient enough if fuel grows scarce, weather gets more severe, and traditional supply chains are hampered?

Showcasing some of the most promising, replicable models for growing, processing, and distributing sustainably grown food, this book points the reader toward the next stages of the food revolution. It also covers the full landscape of the burgeoning local-food movement, from rural to suburban to urban, and from backyard gardens to large-scale food enterprises.

REVIEWS AND PRAISE

ForeWord Reviews-

From the Acknowledgements section on, Philip Ackerman-Leist’s newest book is highly enjoyable, sincere, and informative. An associate professor at Vermont’s Green Mountain College, Ackerman-Leist heads up the Farm and Food Project at the college and has years of experience in homesteading. So, when he asks questions about sustainable and local food, it is from a deeply personal perspective. Readers will appreciate the well-researched arguments and examples, as well as the academician behind them.

Ackerman-Leist embarks on a personal challenge to define these buzzword categories of “local” and “sustainable.” He exhaustively tackles all of the logistics of creating a truly local food system as he engages and entertains readers. Key to Ackerman-Leist’s goals is engaging more members of the community in local food initiatives. Addressing the growing problem of food insecurity as it relates to underutilized or lack of local food systems, as well as taking on the food justice issue, must be priorities for concerned locavores. In searching for answers, he highlights several groundbreaking citizen/producer-owned programs as well as problematic status quo operations. Getting healthy food into the hands of all people requires that we pull the elitist label off of anyone who has an interest in healthy, local food. The author’s writing style entirely succeeds in making an academic line of questioning feel fun, relevant, and accessible to all who are interested.

Ultimately, this is a great book that will catapult readers into a highly critical understanding of the many complex issues with food and localized agriculture in the United States, as well as offer possible solutions. Ackerman-Leist writes with lively panache, an unlikely but somehow well-suited style for talk of such serious problems. This book is highly recommended for anyone who hopes to be part of the evolution.

Choice-

"The third volume in the Community Resilience Guide series, this book explores themes similar to those in Michael Bryan's Food Security and Paul Roberts's The End of Food. Just as Michael Carolan recognizes in The Real Cost of Cheap Food, Ackerman-Leist (environmental studies, Green Mountain College) acknowledges the complex, confusing issues associated with local food, without detracting from its counterpoints. Much of Ackerman-Leist's argument focuses on how a locavore approach is articulated within a larger food production cycle. The book is divided into three sections. Part 1, 'Dilemmas,' presents several questions related to the meaning of local food. Sections titled 'Drivers for Rebuilding Local Food Systems' and 'New Directions' follow. 'Drivers' provides excellent discussions of energy and the environment and a fresh look at the implications of food security and food justice, addressing topics such as equitable access, agricultural workers, and different agricultural commodities. The concluding section examines sometimes neglected areas, including current agricultural education or the role of incubator farms, before expanding the concept of local food into community-based food. Ackerman-Leist's task is not simple, but his approach is stimulating and worthwhile. Summing Up: Recommended."

"Now that it’s not just acceptable but fashionable to write about local food systems, lots of people do it.  Few pay close attention, however, as Ackerman-Leist does in this volume, to the variously shaped components successful local systems will require and the multiple efforts around the country working to create them.  A wise, informed, and thoroughly useful book."--Joan Gussow, author of Growing, Older and This Organic Life

"By now we have all learned that local food is about much more than food miles.  Philip Ackerman-Leist has eloquently helped us to understand just how comprehensive the concept is: how our food system must be redesigned if it is to be reliable and resilient, how that design must be guided by principles of ecology, justice, health, and humility, and how to put such theories into practice for farmers, chefs, consumers, and communities.  A practical guide for anyone interested in imagining our food systems of the future."--Frederick Kirschenmann, author of Cultivating an Ecological Conscience: Essays from a Farmer/Philosopher

"The future of food is local. But how do we transition from our current globalized, supermarket-centered food world to one that's human-scaled and ecosystem-friendly? This book shows how communities across America are reclaiming the ability to feed themselves. It's inspiring as well as informative. If you eat, you really should read it."--Richard Heinberg, author of The End of Growth and Peak Everything

"Rebuilding the Foodshed introduces readers to local food systems in all their complexities.  In moving from industrial to regional food systems, communities must consider an enormous range of factors, from geographic to socioeconomic.  Difficult as doing this may be, this book makes it clear that the results are well worth the effort in their benefits to farmers and farm workers as well as eaters."--Marion Nestle, professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University and author of What to Eat

"Phillip Ackerman-Leist has been in the trenches of food-systems change for well over a decade, from farm to school. Now he has elegantly laid out the principles of how to redesign foodsheds for greater food security, justice, and energy efficiency, while engaging communities in making tangible innovations on the ground. He is undoubtedly in the best place to address these issues, since Vermont communities have accomplished more food relocalization than those in any other state."--Gary Paul Nabhan, pioneer in the food relocalization movement, author of Coming Home to Eat and Renewing America's Food Traditions

Publishers Weekly-
For a somewhat wonky book about food policy, Rebuilding the Foodshed is unusually humorous and open-minded. Vermont farmer and professor Ackerman-Leist ruminates his way through the conundrums and possibilities of local food, demonstrating how words and their definitions can shed light on and transform our understanding of the rapidly evolving, often confusing, emotion-fraught questions of what people eat, where the food comes from, who has access to what, and how the answers to these questions affect the lives of eaters and growers. Let’s call food production farming, he suggests. “Farming is about energy flows. ‘Food production’ is about a terminal point in the act of agriculture.” He finds solutions in the actions of pioneers of food production, distribution, and education, including D-Town Farm—a “step into transcendence” in a deteriorating Detroit suburb that recycles waste to grow vegetables and mushrooms, harvest honey, and help revitalize the devastated local economy. Ackerman-Leist also examines New North Florida Cooperative’s farm-to-school program. With insight, he demonstrates how communities can bridge and transcend the “false divides” he pinpoints in the local-food conversation: urban/rural, small-scale/large-scale, local/international, and all/nothing.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Philip Ackerman-Leist

Philip Ackerman-Leist, author of Rebuilding the Foodshed and Up Tunket Road, is a professor at Green Mountain College, where he established the college’s farm and sustainable agriculture curriculum, directs its Farm & Food Project, and founded its Master of Science in Sustainable Food Systems, the nation’s first online graduate program in food systems, featuring applied comparative research of students’ home bioregions. He and his wife, Erin, farmed in the South Tyrol region of the Alps and North Carolina before beginning their nineteen-year homesteading and farming venture in Pawlet, Vermont. With more than two decades of field experience working on farms, in the classroom, and with regional food systems collaborators, Philip’s work is focused on examining and reshaping local and regional food systems from the ground up.

AUTHOR EVENTS

March 09, 2018

Philip Ackerman-Leist at Organic Growers School

Organic Growers School, Asheville, NC | Philip Ackerman-Leist

See all Events by this Author

ALSO BY THIS AUTHOR

A Precautionary Tale

A Precautionary Tale

By Philip Ackerman-Leist

Mals, Italy, has long been known as the breadbasket of the Tyrol. But recently the tiny town became known for something else entirely. A Precautionary Tale tells us why, introducing readers to an unlikely group of activists and a forward-thinking mayor who came together to ban pesticides in Mals by a referendum vote—making it the first place on Earth to accomplish such a feat, and a model for other towns and regions to follow.

For hundreds of years, the people of Mals had cherished their traditional foodways and kept their local agriculture organic. Their town had become a mecca for tourists drawn by the alpine landscape, the rural and historic character of the villages, and the fine breads, wines, cheeses, herbs, vegetables, and the other traditional foods they produced. Yet Mals is located high up in the eastern Alps, and the valley below was being steadily overtaken by big apple producers, heavily dependent on pesticides. As Big Apple crept further and further up the region’s mountainsides, their toxic spray drifted with the valley’s ever-present winds and began to fall on the farms and fields of Mals—threatening their organic certifications, as well as their health and that of their livestock. 

The advancing threats gradually motivated a diverse cast of characters to take action—each in their own unique way, and then in concert in an iconic display of direct democracy in action. As Ackerman-Leist recounts their uprising, we meet an organic dairy farmer who decides to speak up when his hay is poisoned by drift; a pediatrician who engaged other medical professionals to protect the soil, water, and air that the health of her patients depends upon; a hairdresser whose salon conversations mobilized the town’s women in an extraordinarily conceived campaign; and others who together orchestrated one of the rare revolutionary successes of our time and inspired a movement now snaking its way through Europe and the United States.

A foreword by Vandana Shiva calls upon others to follow in Mals’s footsteps.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

A Precautionary Tale

Philip Ackerman-Leist, Vandana Shiva

Paperback $19.95

Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning

Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning

Typical books about preserving garden produce nearly always assume that modern "kitchen gardeners" will boil or freeze their vegetables and fruits. Yet here is a book that goes back to the future—celebrating traditional but little-known French techniques for storing and preserving edibles in ways that maximize flavor and nutrition.

Translated into English, and with a new foreword by Deborah Madison, this book deliberately ignores freezing and high-temperature canning in favor of methods that are superior because they are less costly and more energy-efficient.

As Eliot Coleman says in his foreword to the first edition, "Food preservation techniques can be divided into two categories: the modern scientific methods that remove the life from food, and the natural 'poetic' methods that maintain or enhance the life in food. The poetic techniques produce... foods that have been celebrated for centuries and are considered gourmet delights today."

Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning offers more than 250 easy and enjoyable recipes featuring locally grown and minimally refined ingredients. It is an essential guide for those who seek healthy food for a healthy world.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning

Deborah Madison, Eliot Coleman

Paperback $25.00

Up Tunket Road

Up Tunket Road

By Philip Ackerman-Leist

Ever since Thoreau's Walden, the image of the American homesteader has been of someone getting away from civilization, of forging an independent life in the country. Yet if this were ever true, what is the nature and reality of homesteading in the media-saturated, hyper-connected 21st century?

For seven years Philip Ackerman-Leist and his wife, Erin, lived without electricity or running water in an old cabin in the beautiful but remote hills of western New England. Slowly forging their own farm and homestead, they took inspiration from their experiences among the mountain farmers of the Tirolean Alps and were guided by their Vermont neighbors, who taught them about what it truly means to live sustainably in the postmodern homestead--not only to survive, but to thrive in a fragmented landscape and a fractured economy.

Up Tunket Road is the inspiring true story of a young couple who embraced the joys of simple living while also acknowledging its frustrations and complexities. Ackerman-Leist writes with humor about the inevitable foibles of setting up life off the grid--from hauling frozen laundry uphill to getting locked in the henhouse by their ox. But he also weaves an instructive narrative that contemplates the future of simple living. His is not a how-to guide, but something much richer and more important--a tale of discovery that will resonate with readers who yearn for a better, more meaningful life, whether they live in the city, country, or somewhere in between.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Up Tunket Road

Philip Ackerman-Leist, Erin Ackerman-Leist

Paperback $17.95

Full Moon Feast

Full Moon Feast

By Jessica Prentice

Full Moon Feast invites us to a table brimming with locally grown foods, radical wisdom, and communal nourishment.

In Full Moon Feast, accomplished chef and passionate food activist Jessica Prentice champions locally grown, humanely raised, nutrient-rich foods and traditional cooking methods. The book follows the thirteen lunar cycles of an agrarian year, from the midwinter Hunger Moon and the springtime sweetness of the Sap Moon to the bounty of the Moon When Salmon Return to Earth in autumn. Each chapter includes recipes that display the richly satisfying flavors of foods tied to the ancient rhythm of the seasons.

Prentice decries our modern food culture: megafarms and factories, the chemically processed ghosts of real foods in our diets, and the suffering--physical, emotional, cultural, communal, and spiritual--born of a disconnect from our food sources. She laments the system that is poisoning our bodies and our communities.

But Full Moon Feast is a celebration, not a dirge. Prentice has emerged from her own early struggles with food to offer health, nourishment, and fulfillment to her readers. She recounts her relationships with local farmers alongside ancient harvest legends and methods of food preparation from indigenous cultures around the world.

Combining the radical nutrition of Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions, keen agri-political acumen, and a spiritual sensibility that draws from indigenous as well as Western traditions, Full Moon Feast is a call to reconnect to our food, our land, and each other.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Full Moon Feast

Jessica Prentice, Deborah Madison

Paperback $25.00

AUTHOR VIDEOS

Rebuilding the Foodshed - Green Mountain college TV

Chelsea Green Book Talks: Philip Ackerman-Leist on Rebuilding the Foodshed

Chelsea Green Book Talks: Philip Ackerman-Leist on Rebuilding the Foodshed

An Interview with Philip Ackerman-Leist

An Interview with Philip Ackerman-Leist (Extended)

Public Lecture at Shelburne Farms

Public Lecture at Shelburne Farms

Phillip Ackerman-Leist at Green Mountain College

Professor of Sustainable Food Systems; Director, Farm and Food Project at Green Mountain College introduces himself

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

Will Bonsall's Essential Guide to Radical, Self-Reliant Gardening

Will Bonsall's Essential Guide to Radical, Self-Reliant Gardening

By Will Bonsall

"Society does not generally expect its farmers to be visionaries." Perhaps not, but longtime Maine farmer and homesteader Will Bonsall does possess a unique clarity of vision that extends all the way from the finer points of soil fertility and seed saving to exploring how we can transform civilization and make our world a better, more resilient place.

In Will Bonsall's Essential Guide to Radical, Self-Reliant Gardening, Bonsall maintains that to achieve real wealth we first need to understand the economy of the land, to realize that things that might make sense economically don't always make sense ecologically, and vice versa. The marketplace distorts our values, and our modern dependence on petroleum in particular presents a serious barrier to creating a truly sustainable agriculture.

For him the solution is, first and foremost, greater self-reliance, especially in the areas of food and energy. By avoiding any off-farm inputs (fertilizers, minerals, and animal manures), Bonsall has learned how to practice a purely veganic, or plant-based, agriculture—not from a strictly moralistic or philosophical perspective, but because it makes good business sense: spend less instead of making more.

What this means in practical terms is that Bonsall draws upon the fertility of on-farm plant materials: compost, green manures, perennial grasses, and forest products like leaves and ramial wood chips. And he grows and harvests a diversity of crops from both cultivated and perennial plants: vegetables, grains, pulses, oilseeds, fruits and nuts—even uncommon but useful permaculture plants like groundnut (Apios).

In a friendly, almost conversational way, Bonsall imparts a wealth of knowledge drawn from his more than forty years of farming experience.

"My goal," he writes, "is not to feed the world, but to feed myself and let others feed themselves. If we all did that, it might be a good beginning."

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Will Bonsall's Essential Guide to Radical, Self-Reliant Gardening

Will Bonsall

Paperback $34.95

The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer

The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer

By Jeff Carpenter and Melanie Carpenter

A new approach to growing local medicine, including information on geo-authenticity, wildcrafting, and developing a good business plan

Both a business guide and a farming manual, The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer will teach readers how to successfully grow and market organic medicinal Western herbs.

Whether you’re trying to farm medicinal plants, culinary herbs, or at-risk native herbs exclusively or simply add herbal crops to what you’re already growing, successful small-scale herb farmers Jeff and Melanie Carpenter will guide you through the entire process—from cultivation to creating value-added products.

Using their Zack Woods Herb Farm in Vermont as a backdrop, the Carpenters cover all the basic practical information farmers need to know to get an organic herb farm up and running, including:

• Size and scale considerations;

• Layout and design of the farm and facilities;

• Growing and cultivation information, including types of tools;

• Field and bed prep;

• Plant propagation;

• Weed control, and pests and diseases;

• Harvesting, as well as wild harvesting and the concept of geo-authentic botanicals;

• Postharvest processing; and,

• Value-added products and marketing.

The authors also provide fifty detailed plant profiles, going deeper into the herbs every farmer should consider growing. In an easy-to-understand, practical, and comprehensive manner, readers will learn how to focus on quality over quantity, and keep costs down by innovating with existing equipment, rather than expensive technology.Market farmers who have never before considered growing medicinal herbs will learn why it’s more important to produce these herbs domestically.

The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer makes a convincing case that producing organic medicinal herbs can be a viable, profitable, farming enterprise. The Carpenters also make the case for incorporating medicinal herbs into existing operations, as it can help increase revenue in the form of value-added products, not to mention improve the ecological health of farmland by encouraging biodiversity as a path toward greater soil health.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer

Jeff Carpenter, Melanie Carpenter, Rosemary Gladstar

Paperback $39.95

The Sugarmaker's Companion

The Sugarmaker's Companion

By Michael Farrell

The Sugarmaker’s Companion is the first guide of its kind addressing the small- and large-scale syrup producer seeking to make a profitable business from maple, birch, and walnut sap. This comprehensive work incorporates valuable information on ecological forest management, value-added products, and the most up-to-date techniques on sap collection and processing. It is, most importantly, a guide to an integrated sugaring operation, interconnected to the whole-farm system, woodland, and community. Farrell documents the untapped potential of American forests and shows how sugaring can turn a substantial profit for farmers while providing tremendous enjoyment and satisfaction. 

Michael Farrell, sugarmaker and director of the Uihlein Forest at Cornell University, offers information on setting up and maintaining a viable sugaring business by incorporating the wisdom of traditional sugarmaking with the value of modern technology (such as reverse-osmosis machines and vacuum tubing). He gives a balanced view of the industry while offering a realistic picture of how modern technology can be beneficial, from both an economic and an environmental perspective. Within these pages, readers will find if syrup production is right for them (and on what scale), determine how to find trees for tapping, learn the essentials of sap collection, the art and science of sugarmaking, and how to build community through syrup production. 

There are many more unique aspects to this book that set it apart from anything else on the market, including:

•    A focus on maple as a local, sustainably produced and healthy alternative to corn syrup and other highly processed and artificial sweeteners;
•    The health benefits of sap and syrup in North America and throughout the world;
•    Attention to the questions of organic certification, sugarhouse registration, and the new international grading system;
•    Enhancing diversity in the sugarbush and interplanting understory crops for value-added products (ginseng, goldenseal, and mushrooms, specifically);
•    An economic analysis of utilizing maple trees for syrup or sawtimber production and the market opportunities for taphole maple lumber;
•    The value of sap as a healthful and profitable energy drink;
•    Detailed analyses on the economics of buying and selling sap;
•    Lots of great information on marketing to create a profitable business model (based on scale, interest, and access), and more. . . .

Applicable for a wide range of climates and regions, this book is sure to change the conversation around syrup production and prove invaluable for both home-scale and commercial sugarmakers alike.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

The Sugarmaker's Companion

Michael Farrell

Paperback $39.95

Companies We Keep

Companies We Keep

By John Abrams

Part memoir and part examination of a new business model, the 2005 release of The Company We Keep marked the debut of an important new voice in the literature of American business. Now, in Companies We Keep, the revised and expanded edition of his 2005 work, John Abrams further develops his idea that companies flourish when they become centers of interdependence, or “communities of enterprise.”

Thoroughly revised with an expanded focus on employee ownership and workplace democracy, Companies We Keep celebrates the idea that when employees share in the rewards as well as the responsibility for the decisions they make, better decisions result. This is an especially timely topic. Most of the baby boomer generation—the owners of millions of American businesses— will retire within the next two decades. In 2001, 50,000 businesses changed hands. In 2005, that number rose to 350,000. Projections call for 750,000 ownership transitions in 2009. Employee ownership—in both the philosophical and the practical sense—is gathering steam as businesses change hands, and Abrams examines some of the many ways this is done.

Companies We Keep is structured around eight principles—from “Sharing Ownership” and “Cultivating Workplace Democracy” to “Thinking Like Cathedral Builders” and “Committing to the Business of Place”—that Abrams has discovered in the 32 years since he cofounded South Mountain Company on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. Together, these principles reveal communities of enterprise as a potent force of change that can—and will— improve the way Americans do business.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Companies We Keep

John Abrams, William Greider

Paperback $24.95