Chelsea Green Publishing

Street Farm

Pages:256 pages
Book Art:Full-color photographs throughout
Size: 7 x 10 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781603586023
Pub. Date August 09, 2016

Street Farm

Growing Food, Jobs, and Hope on the Urban Frontier

Availability: In Stock

Paperback

Available Date:
August 09, 2016

$29.95 $19.47

Street Farm is the inspirational account of residents in the notorious Low Track in Vancouver, British Columbia—one of the worst urban slums in North America—who joined together to create an urban farm as a means of addressing the chronic problems in their neighborhood. It is a story of recovery, of land and food, of people, and of the power of farming and nourishing others as a way to heal our world and ourselves.

During the past seven years, Sole Food Street Farms—now North America’s largest urban farm project—has transformed acres of vacant and contaminated urban land into street farms that grow artisan-quality fruits and vegetables. By providing jobs, agricultural training, and inclusion in a community of farmers and food lovers, the Sole Food project has empowered dozens of individuals with limited resources who are managing addiction and chronic mental health problems.

Sole Food’s mission is to encourage small farms in every urban neighborhood so that good food can be accessible to all, and to do so in a manner that allows everyone to participate in the process. In Street Farm, author-photographer-farmer Michael Ableman chronicles the challenges, growth, and success of this groundbreaking project and presents compelling portraits of the neighborhood residents-turned-farmers whose lives have been touched by it. Throughout, he also weaves his philosophy and insights about food and farming, as well as the fundamentals that are the underpinnings of success for both rural farms and urban farms. Street Farm will inspire individuals and communities everywhere by providing a clear vision for combining innovative farming methods with concrete social goals, all of which aim to create healthier and more resilient communities.

REVIEWS AND PRAISE

Choice-

"This work is an engaging personal narrative about the creation of Sole Food Street Farms, a small-scale urban farm with several locations in the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver, British Columbia—one of the poorest urban areas in North America. This book discusses urban blight, human misery, and, in an astonishing juxtaposition, organic farming. It describes the challenges and rewards of farming in a place where poverty, drug addiction, and crime are prevalent; it also describes a location where concrete and asphalt cover the ground, and the soil underneath is polluted by a century of industrial and other urban use. The book is filled with colorful photographs of people and farms. The popularity of this 'hot topic' alone will make this work attractive to a wide array of academic libraries serving undergraduate populations. It is strongly recommended for academic and public libraries in British Columbia and for all public libraries that service either rural or urban populations. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and general readers.

“Most of the world’s people live in cities, and Street Farm is a story of how to bring cities back to life, literally and emotionally. The cold, forbidding landscapes of urban life bring our hearts to a standstill. When streets, medians, abandoned land, parks, and byways are transformed by soil, bugs, microbes, pollinators, and seeds, lives bloom. Connectedness flourishes, and people become denizens once again.

“Local food is not a mere talisman or gesture. We localize food webs near our homes for identity, nourishment, and taste. Taste is a sense, but it is also a common sense. Local food not only addresses quality of life, economy, and food security, it changes our hearts. Michael Ableman has a finely honed sensibility. Read how he gardens society, grows well-being, weeds out despair, and sows hope in this wonderfully written testament to life.”--Paul Hawken, author of Blessed Unrest

“Whenever Michael Ableman sees a barrier, he runs over and kicks it in. Lucky for us, this strikingly focused anarchist writes about it too, sharing the deeply moving story of reclaiming land and building real community in the most unlikely places, from the ground up. Read this book and be amazed.”--Dan Barber, chef/co-owner, Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns; author of The Third Plate

“Michael Ableman is an innovator extraordinaire whose projects have a track record of benchmarking new models of best practice. He is one of the handful of inspiring visionaries on the planet who are redefining our future food systems.”--Patrick Holden, founding director, Sustainable Food Trust

“In this inspiring book, Michael Ableman documents that generating paradise by growing vegetables amidst the urban jungle also rehabilitates lost souls, builds community, and creates genuine economic value. Street Farm is a great antidote to pessimism, illustrating how even seemingly broken people can contribute to themselves, to society, and to our shared ecology.”--Gabor Maté, MD, author of In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts

Street Farm tells it like it is on a gritty urban farm, introducing us to rough but real people who learn to live again through growing food and nurturing the soil. Michael Ableman shows us that we can amend distressed soils and distressed communities alike.”--Novella Carpenter, author of Farm City 

“Michael Ableman recognises that urban growing is not just about producing lovely, healthy, local food. It’s about creating meaningful work that pays a decent living and showing that the cities where most of us now live can play a vital role in building a better, more resilient food system. In Street Farm, Ableman writes about many of the issues that we also grapple with as we strive to build a better food system in London. Sole Food Street Farms is an uplifting demonstration of how communities really can change the world: inspiration for all those who feel they might be too small or powerless to make a difference.”--Julie Brown, director, Growing Communities

“Michael Ableman examines the heart and soul of urban agriculture through the eyes, hands, and hearts of people in need of a place of civility and serenity. The passion and humility of the farmers who work at Sole Food Street Farms in Vancouver shines through. They are neighborhood folks, many with transgressions of addictions, who find solace in farming.

Ableman strongly believes that farming must be grounded in an economy in which food has value and so do the people who grow it. From Street Farm, we learn that urban agriculture indeed takes a village of planners, politicians, investors, and believers to envision such an economy, with urban agriculture as the new economic engine providing jobs, feeding families, and building communities.”--Karen Washington, urban farm activist; co-founder of Black Urban Growers

“This is the most inspiring book I have read in years. I found myself trembling at the monumental challenges that Michael Ableman and his colleagues faced and overcame in creating a set of urban farms in some of the most downtrodden neighborhoods on the continent. This is a story of hope, disappointment, and hope returning, detailing the mistakes and setbacks as well as the victories and benefits of creating a large-scale food-growing program in a big city. It shows us how far we have yet to go to provide healthy food to any city’s underprivileged, but inspires us with the progress that Ableman and others have made. Told in moving vignettes and full of useful tips for those who want to try to heal the urban food grid, this is an important book. It’s essential reading for everyone in the urban food movement.”--Toby Hemenway, author of The Permaculture City and Gaia’s Garden

“Sole Food Street Farms is living proof that creative social enterprises, thoughtful land use, and green jobs can combine to make cities more inclusive and resilient. Michael Ableman’s work and passion helped make Vancouver a global leader in urban food systems, with happier and healthier people.”--Gregor Robertson, mayor, Vancouver, British Columbia

Sierra Magazine-

“A compelling tale…filled with touching characters, conflict, and ultimately, redemption.”

“In a publishing world where trivial passing thoughts are blogged into barely passable books, it is a serious pleasure to come upon a warts-and-all account of a deeply important enterprise. In Street Farm, long-time farmer Michael Ableman reports on the triumphs and failures of Vancouver’s Sole Food Street Farms. The goal of this five-acre network of four farms—begun in the poorest postal code in Canada—is to produce, from thousands of boxes of planted dirt, not just delicious food but salvaged lives. Candid about the difficulties of creating flourishing farms on hot pavements and of making reliable farm workers of dispirited locals who struggle not only with poverty but with assorted personal demons, Ableman has written an important, inspiring, and bravely honest book.”--Joan Gussow, author of Growing, Older and This Organic Life  

Publishers Weekly-

"In this insightful, inspiring narrative, Ableman explains that he had been a farmer for 40 years when he decided to attend a meeting in an urban slum in Vancouver, British Columbia, called Low Track. That meeting and several more resulted in Sole Food Street Farms, which is currently operating four urban farms in downtown Vancouver. Those interested in starting their own neighborhood or urban garden will deeply appreciate his insight into urban farming’s unique challenges and opportunities. Those serious about embarking on a similar endeavor will find a mix of inspiration and solid advice they’ll want to keep close at hand.”

“From skid row to rows of food: Michael Ableman’s interwoven growing skills and people empowerment are beautifully illustrated here by ‘ground zero’ spaces transformed to market gardens. His long experience of creating non-profit urban farms has borne fruit in Vancouver, BC. Sole Food Street Farms produces twenty-five tons of food every year, grown in unlikely places by drug-addicted farmers, softened in the process like the soil they tend. Ableman acknowledges it’s an imperfect endeavour, but these gardens offer hope: ‘Food’s the next thing, man!’”--Charles Dowding, no-dig organic market gardener; author of How to Create a New Vegetable Garden

“I have known Michael Ableman for over twenty years. He is one of the pioneers of small-scale urban farming, growing quality food for urban communities. He has worked through the challenges inherent to urban farming and is a premier trainer in the industry. Michael has been and is an inspiration to myself and many urban agriculture leaders around the country and the world.”--Will Allen, founder and CEO, Growing Power

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Ableman

Michael Ableman, the cofounder and director of Sole Food Street Farms, is one of the early visionaries of the urban agriculture movement. He has created high-profile urban farms in Watts, California; Goleta, California; and Vancouver, British Columbia. Ableman has also worked on and advised dozens of similar projects throughout North America and the Caribbean, and he is the founder of the nonprofit Center for Urban Agriculture. He is the subject of the award-winning PBS film Beyond Organic narrated by Meryl Streep. His previous books include From the Good Earth, On Good Land, and Fields of Plenty. Ableman lives and farms at the 120-acre Foxglove Farm on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia.

AUTHOR VIDEOS

The Story of Sole Food Farms

Sole Food's mission is to empower individuals with limited resources by providing jobs, agricultural training and inclusion in a supportive community of farmers and food lovers. Individuals are given basic agriculture training and are employed at the farm based on their capability.

2014 OSU Oregon Small Farms Conference Keynote Address

Michael Ableman Keynote Address at 2014 OSU Oregon Small Farms Conference

The Future of Food: Closing Keynote Address

Keynote Address at The Future of Food: Transatlantic Perspective at Boston University (April 2010)

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

The New Horse-Powered Farm

The New Horse-Powered Farm

By Stephen Leslie

In an era when fuel is a primary concern, draft horses are seen by many as the solution to small-scale, resilient farming with a closed-loop system. Horses bring farmers back to the roots of what it means to work the land and present a viable model for a small farm that lasts, while offering enjoyment for the whole family. This is the first book of its kind, offering wisdom and techniques for using horse power on the small farm or homestead, from longtime horse farmer Stephen Leslie.

The New Horse-Powered Farm sets the stage for incorporating draft power on the farm by presenting tips on getting started with horses, care of the work horse, different horse-training systems, and the merits of different draft breeds. The novice teamster is introduced to the basic tools of horse-drawn tillage and cultivation used for profitable horse-powered farming, with a spotlight on whole-farm management, as well as information on haying with horses, raising small grains, managing the woodlot, farm education, agritourism, and more.

Incorporated throughout are profiles of more than a half-dozen farms that epitomize some exciting new trends in agriculture and highlight the new and old horse-drawn equipment used for profitable market gardening, including contributions directly from the farmers about what works and what doesn't. The novice teamster is introduced to the specifics of horse-drawn tillage and cultivation of the market garden, and using horses in the woodland. Recent studies on the economics of horse-powered market gardening and a comparison between horse-, human-, and tractor-powered systems have been included to help round out the picture. The resources section lists contact info for teamster schools, books, draft-animal publications, annual events, equipment manufacturers, parts and repairs, and more. A must-have for any farmer, homesteader, or teamster seeking to work with draft power in a closed-loop farming system.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

The New Horse-Powered Farm

Stephen Leslie, Lynn Miller

Paperback $39.95

Devil in the Milk

Devil in the Milk

By Keith Woodford

This groundbreaking work is the first internationally published book to examine the link between a protein in the milk we drink and a range of serious illnesses, including heart disease, Type 1 diabetes, autism, and schizophrenia.

These health problems are linked to a tiny protein fragment that is formed when we digest A1 beta-casein, a milk protein produced by many cows in the United States and northern European countries. Milk that contains A1 beta-casein is commonly known as A1 milk; milk that does not is called A2. All milk was once A2, until a genetic mutation occurred some thousands of years ago in some European cattle. A2 milk remains high in herds in much of Asia, Africa, and parts of Southern Europe. A1 milk is common in the United States, New Zealand, Australia, and Europe.

In Devil in the Milk, Keith Woodford brings together the evidence published in more than 100 scientific papers. He examines the population studies that look at the link between consumption of A1 milk and the incidence of heart disease and Type 1 diabetes; he explains the science that underpins the A1/A2 hypothesis; and he examines the research undertaken with animals and humans. The evidence is compelling: We should be switching to A2 milk.

A2 milk from selected cows is now marketed in parts of the U.S., and it is possible to convert a herd of cows producing A1 milk to cows producing A2 milk.

This is an amazing story, one that is not just about the health issues surrounding A1 milk, but also about how scientific evidence can be molded and withheld by vested interests, and how consumer choices are influenced by the interests of corporate business.



Available in: Paperback

Read More

Devil in the Milk

Keith Woodford, Thomas Cowan

Paperback $24.95

The Apple Grower

The Apple Grower

By Michael Phillips

For decades fruit growers have sprayed their trees with toxic chemicals in an attempt to control a range of insect and fungal pests. Yet it is possible to grow apples responsibly, by applying the intuitive knowledge of our great-grandparents with the fruits of modern scientific research and innovation.

Since The Apple Grower first appeared in 1998, orchardist Michael Phillips has continued his research with apples, which have been called "organic's final frontier." In this new edition of his widely acclaimed work, Phillips delves even deeper into the mysteries of growing good fruit with minimal inputs. Some of the cuttingedge topics he explores include:

  • The use of kaolin clay as an effective strategy against curculio and borers, as well as its limitations
  • Creating a diverse, healthy orchard ecosystem through understory management of plants, nutrients, and beneficial microorganisms
  • How to make a small apple business viable by focusing on heritage and regional varieties, value-added products, and the "community orchard" model

The author's personal voice and clear-eyed advice have already made The Apple Grower a classic among small-scale growers and home orchardists. In fact, anyone serious about succeeding with apples needs to have this updated edition on their bookshelf.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

The Apple Grower

Michael Phillips

Paperback $40.00

Farming the Woods

Farming the Woods

By Ken Mudge and Steve Gabriel

In the eyes of many people, the practices of forestry and farming are mutually exclusive, because in the modern world, agriculture involves open fields, straight rows, and machinery to grow crops, while forests are primarily reserved for timber and firewood harvesting. Farming the Woods invites a remarkably different perspective: that a healthy forest can be maintained while growing a wide range of food, medicinal, and other non-timber products. While this concept of “forest farming” may seem like an obscure practice, history indicates that much of humanity lived and sustained itself from tree-based systems in the past; only recently have people traded the forest for the field.  The good news is that this is not an either-or scenario; forest farms can be most productive in places where the plow is not: on steep slopes, and in shallow soils. It is an invaluable practice to integrate into any farm or homestead, especially as the need for unique value-added products and supplemental income becomes more and more important for farmers.

Many already know that daily indulgences we take for granted such as coffee, chocolate, and many tropical fruits, all originate in forest ecosystems. But few know that such abundance is also available in the cool temperate forests of North America. Farming the Woods is the first in-depth guide for farmers and gardeners who have access to an established woodland and are looking for productive ways to manage it. Authors Ken Mudge and Steve Gabriel describe this process as "productive conservation," guided by the processes and relationships found in natural forest ecosystems. 

Farming the Woods covers in detail how to cultivate, harvest, and market high-value non-timber forest crops such as American ginseng, shiitake mushrooms, ramps (wild leeks), maple syrup, fruit and nut trees, ornamental ferns, and more. Comprehensive information is also offered on historical perspectives of forest farming; mimicking the forest in a changing climate; cultivation of medicinal crops; creating a forest nursery; harvesting and utilizing wood products; the role of animals in the forest farm; and how to design and manage your forest farm once it's set up. This book is a must-read for farmers and gardeners interested in incorporating aspects of agroforestry, permaculture, forest gardening, and sustainable woodlot management into the concept of a whole-farm organism. 

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Farming the Woods

Ken Mudge, Steve Gabriel, John F. Munsell

Paperback $39.95