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
eBook: 9781603584241
Pub. Date March 01, 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 $9.97

Availability: In Stock

eBook

Available Date:
March 01, 2013

$19.95 $9.97

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."

"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

"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

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 and is director of the Green Mountain College Farm & Food Project. He also founded and directs the college's Masters in Sustainable Food Systems (MSFS), 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 Tirol region of the Alps and North Carolina before beginning their sixteen-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.

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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.

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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?

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.

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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.

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Remember the days before the dot.com explosion, before Golden Arches rose from the Great Plains, before the Age of Information, when the only commodity that wasn't in short supply in America was time? Time to relax and reflect, time to cook well, eat well, and live the life of sustainable hedonism. Today we pound down our Big Mac and fries as we check our e-mail on our collective Palm Pilots, at the expense of true nourishment for our bodies and souls.

"Enough!" says Carlo Petrini, the founder of Slow Food International, a movement that encourages us to turn down the volume, unplug the answering machine, and enjoy life to its fullest. Away with nutraceutical soft drinks and breakfast cereals made from refined sugar and shaped liked clowns. Bring back the pleasure of the palate, and return the humanity to food. More than 60,000 members worldwide now belong to the Slow Food movement, which believes that the slow shall inherit the earth.

Slow Food: Collected Thoughts on Taste, Tradition, and the Honest Pleasures of Food is an anthology for cooks, gourmets, and anyone who is passionate about food and its impact on our culture. Drawn from five years of the quarterly journal Slow (only recently available in America), this book includes more than 100 articles covering eclectic topics from "Falafel" to "Fat City." From the market at Ulan Bator in Mongolia to Slow Food Down Under, this book offers an armchair tour of the exotic and bizarre. You'll pass through Vietnam's Snake Tavern, enjoy the Post-Industrial Pint of Beer, and learn why the lascivious villain in Indian cinema always eats Tandoori Chicken. The articles are contributed by some of the world's top food writers.

Slow Food is moving fast in North America, with more than 5,000 members, loosely organized into 55 "Convivia," from Montreal to San Francisco, benefiting from enormous free publicity. Slow Food offers a clear alternative to the "fast food nation" (the title of Eric Schlosser's great book on the horrors of the fast food biz). This is a perfect follow-up to Joan Dye Gussow's This Organic Life, and is proof positive that he or she who lives slow, lives best.

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AUTHOR VIDEOS

GMC The Stream

GMC The Stream

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

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

Rebuilding the Foodshed - Green Mountain college TV

An Interview with Philip Ackerman-Leist

An Interview with Philip Ackerman-Leist (Extended)

Public Lecture at Shelburne Farms

Public Lecture at Shelburne Farms

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