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

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 EVENTS

October 20, 2017

Michael Ableman at 2017 Bioneers Conference

Bioneers, San Rafael, CA | Michael Ableman
Michael Ableman will present a 90 minute workshop at the 2017 Bioneers Conference. More details to come.

See all Events by this Author

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 Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower's Handbook

The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower's Handbook

By Andrew Mefferd

Best practices for the eight most profitable crops

Today only a few dozen large-scale producers dominate the greenhouse produce market. Why? Because they know and employ best practices for the most profitable crops: tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, peppers, leafy greens, lettuce, herbs, and microgreens. The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower’s Handbook levels the playing field by revealing these practices so that all growers—large and small—can maximize the potential of their protected growing space. Whether growing in a heated greenhouse or unheated hoophouse, this book offers a decision-making framework for how to best manage crops that goes beyond a list of simple do’s and don’ts.

As senior trial technician for greenhouse crops at Johnny’s Selected Seeds, author Andrew Mefferd spent seven years consulting for growers using protected agriculture in a wide variety of climates, soils, and conditions. The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower’s Handbook brings his experience and expertise to bear in an in-depth guide that will help readers make their investment in greenhouse space worthwhile.

Every year, more growers are turning to protected culture to deal with unpredictable weather and to meet out-of-season demand for local food, but many end up spinning their wheels, wasting time and money on unprofitable crops grown in ways that don’t make the most of their precious greenhouse space. With comprehensive chapters on temperature control and crop steering, pruning and trellising, grafting, and more, Mefferd’s book is full of techniques and strategies that can help farms stay profitable, satisfy customers, and become an integral part of re-localizing our food system. From seed to sale, The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower’s Handbook is the indispensable resource for protected growing.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower's Handbook

Andrew Mefferd

Paperback $34.95

Understanding Roots

Understanding Roots

By Robert Kourik

Award-Winner in the "Home & Garden” category of the 2015 USA Best Book Awards

Understanding Roots uncovers one of the greatest mysteries underground—the secret lives and magical workings of the roots that move and grow invisibly beneath our feet.

Roots, it seems, do more than just keep a plant from falling over: they gather water and nutrients, exude wondrous elixirs to create good soil, make friends with microbes and fungi, communicate with other roots, and adapt themselves to all manner of soils, winds, and climates, nourishing and sustaining our gardens, lawns, and woodlands.

Understanding Roots contains over 115 enchanting and revealing root drawings that most people have never seen, from prairies, grasslands, and deserts, as well as drawings based on excavations of vegetable, fruit, nut, and ornamental tree roots. Every root system presented in this book was drawn by people literally working in the trenches, sketching the roots where they grew.

The text provides a verydetailed review of all aspects of transplanting; describes how roots work their magic to improve soil nutrients; investigates the hidden life of soil microbes and their mysterious relationship to roots; explores the question of whether deep roots really gather more unique nutrients than shallow roots; shares the latest research about the mysteries of mycorrhizal (good fungal) association; shows you exactly where to put your fertilizer, compost, water, and mulch to help plants flourish; tells you why gray water increases crop yields more than fresh water; and, most importantly, reveals the science behind all the above (with citations for each scientific paper).

This book contains at least eighty percent more new information, more results of the latest in-depth and up-to-date explorations, and even more helpful guidelines on roots than the author’s previous book (Roots Demystified: Change Your Garden Habits to Help Roots Thrive). This is not a revised edition—it’s a whole new stand-alone book.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Understanding Roots

Robert Kourik

Paperback $24.95

The Hop Grower's Handbook

The Hop Grower's Handbook

By Laura Ten Eyck and Dietrich Gehring

It’s hard to think about beer these days without thinking about hops.

The runaway craft beer market’s convergence with the ever-expanding local foods movement is helping to spur a local-hops renaissance. The demand from craft brewers for local ingredients to make beer—such as hops and barley—is robust and growing. That’s good news for farmers looking to diversify, but the catch is that hops have not been grown commercially in the Eastern United States for nearly a century.

Today, farmers from Maine to North Carolina are working hard to respond to the craft brewers’ desperate call for locally grown hops. But questions arise: How best to create hop yards—which are virtual forests 18-feet tall, are expensive to build, and the hop bines themselves often take up to three years to reach full production? How to best pick, process, and price them for market? And, how best to manage the fungal diseases and insects that wiped out the hop industry one reference years ago, and which are thriving in the hotter and more humid Eastern United States thanks to climate change? Answers to these questions can be found in The Hop Grower’s Handbook—the only book on the market about raising hops sustainably, on a small scale, for the commercial craft beer market in the Eastern United States.

Written by hop farmers and craft brewery owners Laura Ten Eyck and Dietrich Gehring, The Hop Grower’s Handbook is a beautifully photographed and illustrated book that weaves the story of their Helderberg Hop Farm with the colorful history of New York and New England hop farming, and relays horticultural information about the unusual hop plant and the mysterious resins it produces that give beer a distinctively bitter flavor, including an overview of the numerous native, heirloom, and modern varieties of hops and their purposes. The authors also detail an easy-to-understand explanation of the beer-brewing process, which is critical for hop growers to understand in order be able to provide the high-quality product brewers want to buy. The authors even include a few beer recipes, too.

The book also provides readers with detailed information on:

  • Selecting, preparing, and designing a hop yard site;
  • Tending to the hops, with details on best practices to manage weeds, insects, and diseases; and,
  • Harvesting, drying, analyzing, processing, and pricing hops for market.

The overwhelming majority of books and resources devoted to hop production currently available are geared toward the Pacific Northwest’s large-scale commercial growers, who use synthetic chemical pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, and fertilizers and deal with regionally specific climate, soils, weeds, and insect populations. Ten Eyck and Gehring, however, focus on farming hops sustainably. While they relay their experience about growing in a new Northeastern climate subject to the higher temperatures and volatile cycles of drought and deluge brought about by global warming, this book will be an essential resource for home-scale and small-scale commercial hops growers in all regions.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

The Hop Grower's Handbook

Laura Ten Eyck, Dietrich Gehring

Paperback $34.95

Hemp Bound

Hemp Bound

By Doug Fine

The stat sheet on hemp sounds almost too good to be true: its fibers are among the planet’s strongest, its seed oil the most nutritious, and its potential as an energy source vast and untapped. Its one downside? For nearly a century, it’s been illegal to grow industrial cannabis in the United States–even though Betsy Ross wove the nation’s first flag out of hemp fabric, Thomas Jefferson composed the Declaration of Independence on it, and colonists could pay their taxes with it. But as the prohibition on hemp’s psychoactive cousin winds down, one of humanity’s longest-utilized plants is about to be reincorporated into the American economy. Get ready for the newest billion-dollar industry.

In Hemp Bound:Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Next Agricultural Revolution, bestselling author Doug Fine embarks on a humorous yet rigorous journey to meet the men and women who are testing, researching, and pioneering hemp’s applications for the twenty-first century. From Denver, where Fine hitches a ride in a hemp-powered limo; to Asheville, North Carolina, where carbon-negative hempcrete-insulated houses are sparking a mini housing boom; to Manitoba where he raps his knuckles on the hood of a hemp tractor; and finally to the fields of east Colorado, where practical farmers are looking toward hemp to restore their agricultural economy—Fine learns how eminently possible it is for this misunderstood plant to help us end dependence on fossil fuels, heal farm soils damaged after a century of growing monocultures, and bring even more taxable revenue into the economy than its smokable relative.

Fine’s journey will not only leave you wondering why we ever stopped cultivating this miracle crop, it will fire you up to sow a field of it for yourself, for the nation’s economy, and for the planet.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Hemp Bound

Doug Fine

Paperback $14.95