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

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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

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