This webinar the first in a series of Community Resilience Chats, a joint project by Transition US, the Post Carbon Institute, and Chelsea Green publishing, designed to give Transitioners and other community leaders the tools to localize their food, energy, and financial systems.
In this discussion, Philip will explore the concept of "local food" and what it really means to "Rebuild the Foodshed," sharing stories and lessons learned from communities around the US that have successfully built local, sustainable, and secure food systems.
Philip Ackerman-Leist, author of Rebuilding the Foodshed and Up Tunket Road: The Education of Modern Homesteader (2009), is a professor at Green Mountain College. There he established the farm and sustainable agriculture curriculum, is director of the Green Mountain College Farm & Food Project and also founded and directs a Masters in Sustainable Food Systems (MSFS) — the nation's first online graduate program in food systems, featuring applied comparative research of students' home bioregions.
He and his wife, Erin, farmed in the South Tirol region of the Alps and North Carolina before beginning their sixteen-year homesteading and farming venture in Pawlet, Vermont. With more than two decades of "field experience" working on farms, in the classroom, and with regional food systems collaborators, Philip's work is focused on examining and reshaping local and regional food systems from the ground up.
Droves of people have turned to local food as a way to retreat from our broken industrial food system. From rural outposts to city streets, they are sowing, growing, selling, and eating food produced close to home—and they are crying out for agricultural reform. All this has made "local food" into everything from a movement buzzword to the newest darling of food trendsters. But now it's time to take the conversation to the next level.
That's exactly what Philip Ackerman-Leist does in Rebuilding the Foodshed, in which he refocuses the local-food lens on the broad issue of rebuilding regional food systems that can replace the destructive aspects of industrial agriculture, meet food demands affordably and sustainably, and be resilient enough to endure potentially rough times ahead. Changing our foodscapes raises a host of questions:
How far away is local? How do you decide the size and geography of a regional foodshed? How do you tackle tough issues that plague food systems large and small—issues like inefficient transportation, high energy demands, and rampant food waste? How do you grow what you need with minimum environmental impact? And how do you create a foodshed that's resilient enough if fuel grows scarce, weather gets more severe, and traditional supply chains are hampered?
Showcasing some of the most promising, replicable models for growing, processing, and distributing sustainably grown food, this book points the reader toward the next stages of the food revolution. It also covers the full landscape of the burgeoning local-food movement, from rural to suburban to urban, and from backyard gardens to large-scale food enterprises.