Michael Ableman is an American author, organic farmer, educator, and advocate for sustainable agriculture. He is founder the Center for Urban Agriculture at Fairview Gardens, California, Solefood Farms in Vancouver, and the Centre for Arts, Ecology and Agriculture on Salt Spring Island. Ableman is author of From the Good Earth, On Good Land and Fields of Plenty: A Farmer's Journey in Search of Real Food and the People Who Grow It. He is featured in the award-winning PBS national broadcast Beyond Organic.
Ableman originally intended to become a photographer. However, in 1972 he joined an agrarian commune east of Ojai, California where he was to eventually manage 100 acres (0.40 km2) of pear and apple orchards. After a time managing a nursery on the coast north of Santa Barbara, in 1981 Ableman took a job grafting orange trees at Fairview Gardens. When the previous manager left, Ableman remained, "farm-sitting," until 2001. At its peak the farm served as an important community and education center and a national model for small scale and urban agriculture, hosting as many as 5000 people per year for tours, classes, festivals, and apprenticeships. Under Ableman's leadership the farm was saved from development and preserved under one of the earliest and most unique active agricultural conservation easements of its type in the country.
Ableman lives with his family on an organic farm on Saltspring Island, British Columbia. Ableman now lives and farms at the historic 120 acre Foxglove Farm where he also directs the Center For Arts, Ecology, and Agriculture.
Michael is along with Seann Dory of SOLEFood Street Farms in Vancouver, British Columbia. Sole Food transforms vacant urban land into street farms that grow artisan quality fruits and vegetables and provides jobs to residents in the downtown Eastside of Vancouver who face for whatever reason challenges to employment.
Michael Ableman and Seann Dory were brought together around a half-acre parking lot on Hastings and Hawks streets on the downtown east-side of Vancouver. Seann wanted to grow food and employ people from the neighborhood, Michael had the experience to make it happen.
Together they forged a working relationship and ultimately developed a very ambitious plan to create urban production farms throughout Vancouver that would employ individuals working through the challenges of material poverty, addiction, and mental illness while generating large quantities of food.
- Fields of Plenty: A Farmer's Journey in Search of Real Food and the People Who Grow It. Chronicle Books (2005). ISBN 978-0-8118-4223-5
- On Good Land: The Autobiography of an Urban Farmer. Chronicle Books (1998). ISBN 978-0-8118-1921-3
- From the Good Earth: A Celebration of Growing Food Around the World, with Cynthia Wisehart, Sam Bittman. Harry N. Abrams, Incorporated, (1993). ISBN 978-0-8109-2517-5
- "Beyond Organic". Bullfrog Films. Retrieved 2009-02-24.
- Cooper, Arnie (June 2003). "Earthly Delights: Cultivating A New Agricultural Revolution" (PDF). The Sun Magazine. Retrieved 2009-02-24.
- "Michael Ableman". fieldsofplenty.com. Retrieved 2013-03-24.
- "Michael Ableman - Fields of Plenty". Deconstructing Dinner. Global Public Media. 22 February 2007. Retrieved 2009-02-24.
- Collective Heritage Institute (2007) Bioneers 2005 Conference Catalogue. Retrieved on 2009-02-25.
- Ableman's website.
- Michael Ableman Urban Agriculture: Real Food and the People Who Grow It
- Ableman, M. (October 3, 2006). Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food: the Risks of Convenience and Consolidation. Counterpunch.