Michael Ableman – The Future of Food

Michael Ableman - farmer, author, photographer

David, William and I spent a lovely day at Mulloon Creek Farm on Sunday 15 April to hear a presentation about ‘the future of food’ from Michael Ableman, Canadian farmer, author and photographer. The day was perfect, nature gracing us with warm sun, cool breezes and deep blue skies, a fabulous day to be entertained by Michael’s photos and stories from his very interesting life. Michael has been farming ‘with nature’ since he was 18 years old and currently lives on the beautiful ‘Foxglove Farm’ in the mountains of British Columbia, Canada.

Michael made some interesting suggestions for fixing our broken food production systems, some of which I’ve listed here.

  • Fruits, vegetables and herbs should be produced and processed by individual households and in the cities, urban farms, roof-top farms and other innovative intensive farming to ensure access to seasonal and locally grown produce
  • Larger-scale broad-acre farming (grains) and farming of protein sources (meats, fish, legumes etc) should remain the main operation of farmers and farming communities in rural areas
  • Each town, city or municipality should establish community kitchens or use existing community kitchen facilities to actively develop the community’s cooking and food preserving skills (mirroring the great work that Jamie Oliver and his Ministry of Food is doing)
  • All schools should teach practical life skills and reinstate high quality woodwork, metal work and home economics subjects. Teaching of academic subjects such as English, Mathematics, Sciences etc should occur in conjunction and integrated with practical subjects. For example, biology, mathematics, geography and chemistry can all be taught while learning to grow, harvest and cook food from school garden
  • Each town, city, or municipality should generate its own electricity and process its own sewerage and waste (I actually think that each building should be doing it. Its not that hard, we have the technology, skills and know how already)

The second half of Michael’s presentation involved lively question and answer sessions, with Michael happy to offer practical advice for growing, harvesting and marketing produce. There was much discussion about how to involve children in growing, harvesting and preparing food and how to encourage and support young people (under 35) to become farmers.

Lunch was catered by the Mulloon Creek Farm community and was delicious. We were joined by the resident geese busily gobbling up bugs on the lawn while Jacko the farm dog enjoyed the leftovers. Thank you to everyone from the Mulloon Institute, Mulloon Creek Farms and Michael Ableman for an enjoyable and inspiring day.

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