Michael Ableman

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Michael Ableman
NationalityAmerican, Canadian
OccupationWriter, educator, farmer

Michael Ableman is an American-Canadian author, organic farmer, educator, and advocate for sustainable agriculture. Michael has been farming organically since the early 1970s and is considered one of the pioneers of the organic farming and urban agriculture movements. He is a frequent lecturer to audiences all over the world and the winner of numerous awards for his work. Ableman is the author of four trade published books: From the Good Earth: A celebration of growing food around the world; On Good Land: The autobiography of an urban farm; 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. Michael Ableman is the founder of the Center for Urban Agriculture at Fairview Gardens in Goleta, California where he farmed for 20 years; co-founder and director of Sole Food Street Farms and the charity Cultivate Canada in Vancouver, British Columbia; and founder and director of the Center for Arts, Ecology and Agriculture based at his family home and farm on Salt Spring Island.[1]


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.[2] 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.[3][4] 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 unusual active agricultural conservation easements of its type in the country.[2]

A frequent speaker at conferences throughout North America, Ableman gave a plenary presentation on the future of farming at the Bioneers conference in 2005.[5]

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, along with Seann Dory co-founded North America's largest Urban Agriculture project, Sole Food 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.

Foxglove Farm[edit]

Foxglove Farm is a 120-acre organic farm on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia, Canada owned by Ableman. Foxglove Farm is home to the Centre for Arts, Ecology and Agriculture which specializes in agricultural and culinary arts workshops.


  • Street Farm: Growing Food, Jobs, and Hope on the Urban Frontier. Chelsea Green (2016) [1] ISBN 9781603586023
  • 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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Michael Ableman | Michael Ableman". www.michaelableman.com. Retrieved December 28, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Cooper, Arnie (June 2003). "Earthly Delights: Cultivating A New Agricultural Revolution" (PDF). The Sun Magazine. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 5, 2008. Retrieved February 24, 2009.
  3. ^ "Michael Ableman". fieldsofplenty.com. Retrieved March 24, 2013.
  4. ^ "Michael Ableman – Fields of Plenty". Deconstructing Dinner. Global Public Media. February 22, 2007. Retrieved February 24, 2009.
  5. ^ Collective Heritage Institute (2007) Bioneers 2005 Conference Catalogue[permanent dead link]. Retrieved 25 February 2009.

External links[edit]