Michael Ableman | About
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“Ableman is a gracious rebel who knows that industrialized farming wrings the life out of both soil and communities. His joy in stewardship and in people celebrates a psychic sustainability that won’t appear on spreadsheets.”
- Sierra, Magazine of the Sierra Club

“Michael Ableman has never been one to settle for low-hanging fruit. His mission is to test the mettle of agriculture by cuddling it ever closer to the hearths of the urban dilemma.” – Santa Barbara Independent

A renowned speaker, storyteller, photographer, and author, Michael Ableman is highly sought after for his expertise in organic agriculture, urban agriculture, food security, and related social and ecological issues. Ableman offers a unique and authentic perspective, grounded in a forty-year career working on the land growing food. His books and lectures have inspired people to become active participants in how food comes to them. With a warm and engaging speaking style, Ableman uses storytelling to empower audiences to address complex social and environmental issues and to actively use food as a gathering point for community and for social, environmental, and personal healing.

Awarded an environmental leadership award from the governor of California, the SUSTIE award from the Ecological Farming Association, a Food Hero award from Eating Well Magazine, and the Land Award from the Real Estate Foundation of BC for his work on Vancouver’s Skid Row, Ableman is considered one of the fathers of the Urban Agriculture movement, and one of the early pioneers of the sustainable and organic agriculture movements.

Patrick Holden of the Sustainable Food Trust called him “one of a handful of inspiring visionaries on the planet who are redefining our future food systems”, author Paul Hawken says “Michael Ableman has a finely honed sensibility…. he gardens society, grows well-being, weeds out despair, and sows hope”, chef and author Dan Barber says that “whenever Michael Ableman sees a barrier, he runs over and kicks it in”, Will Allen of Growing Power refers to Michael as “One of the pioneers of small-scale urban farming ”, and activist Karen Washington says that “Ableman strongly believes that farming must be grounded in an economy in which food has value and so do the people who grow it.”.

Ableman’s early activism earned him a journalist’s title of the “Spartacus of Sustainable Food Activism” and Julia Child referred to him as a “Food Terrorist” for his public speeches demonstrating how the American food system was broken.

As an author, Ableman has written and photographed four acclaimed books which have been distributed around the world- From The Good Earth; A celebration of growing food around the world, On Good Land; The autobiography of an urban farm, Fields of Plenty; A farmer’s journey in search of real food and the people who grow it, and most recently Street Farm; Growing food, jobs, and hope on the urban frontier. He is the subject of the award- winning PBS film Beyond Organic narrated by Meryl Streep and his work in Vancouver is featured in the new feature length documentary A New Economy.

Ableman’s photographs have appeared in publications around the world and in solo exhibitions at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, The Field Museum of Chicago, and the Oakland Museum. His work has been profiled in numerous print and electronic media including National Geographic, National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, the New York Times, CBC, BBC, Gourmet Magazine, the L.A. Times and many others.

Ableman is the co-founder and director of Sole Food Street Farms, one of North America’s largest urban agriculture enterprises established to provide employment to individuals in Vancouver, British Columbia who are managing poverty and addiction. He is the founder of the non-profit Center For Urban Agriculture, the registered charity Cultivate Canada, the Center For Arts, Ecology, and Agriculture, and co-founder of the Agrarian Elders. Ableman currently lives and farms with his family at the historic 120-acre Foxglove Farm.