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Thompson lecture fuels concern for food related issues

March 31, 2017

Photo courtesy of Monmouth College - Michael Ableman delivers the annual Thompson Lecture.

Michael Ableman, an organic farmer, photographer, advocate for local food systems and friend of Monmouth College, visited the campus earlier this week to speak at the Thompson Lecture. The Thompson Lecture is held every year in memory of Sam Thompson, an alumni and former professor here at Monmouth College. Ableman primarily spoke about his farming experiences throughout his life, including what his goals have been throughout his journey and his most recent book. As an empowered eighteen year old, Ableman began what he calls his “Introduction to Agriculture” with a supervising job at a farm that he now owns in Southern California. About thirty years later, Ableman began traveling the world to study the most traditional and contemporary farming techniques.

Through his experiences, Ableman created his network Sole Food Street Farms and wrote his book “Street Farm: Growing Food, Jobs, and Hope on the Urban Frontier”. In his writing, Ableman emphasizes that “the story of the farm is as much about the farmers I’ve come to work with as it is the food we’ve produced together”. Sole Food Street Farms focuses on transforming communities within the network, in addition to providing jobs for people with drug addictions, mental illnesses and the homeless. Against all odds, Ableman was able to create farms in urban cities and provide fresh fruits and vegetables in places that need them the most. As a result, Ableman became a face to the term “urban agriculture”.

Throughout the years Ableman has stayed true to his goals which remain to be, providing employment opportunities, optimism, and useful skills to people that society would normally turn its back to. In his talk, Ableman em-phasized the importance of recovery and rehabilitation of the land and people. As Ableman states, “rehabilitation through meaningful work” is a part of his purpose, “one seed at a time”.

Abbi Murray
Contributing Writer

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