Michael Ableman, Foxglove Farm, Saltspring Island, BC
Michael Ableman lives and farms on Saltspring Island in British Columbia with his wife and two sons. His historic 120-acre Foxglove Farm on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia is surrounded by forest, pastures, and creeks and borders the pristine Maxwell Lake. The farm currently produces strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, asparagus, melons, greens, roots, and a wide range of annual Mediterranean vegetables. Diverse orchard plantings, grain production, and mixed livestock are in development. The 75 acres of forest is managed using strict eco-forestry principles. Harvested trees will be milled and furniture products produced on-site.
He is the founder of the Center for Urban Agriculture at Fairview Gardens, an education center and working organic farm in southern California that has become an international model for small scale and urban agriculture. In addition to being a respected farmer he is also a writer and photographer, his books include From the Good Earth, On Good Land (Chronicle Books), and Fields of Plenty and he is the subject of the award-winning PBS broadcast Beyond Organic, narrated by Meryl Streep. His work has been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, in National Geographic, The Utne Reader, and the Los Angeles Times, among other publications.
Fields of Plenty is the memoir of he and his son’s travels from his own Foxglove Farm in British Columbia across the United States in search of innovative and passionate farmers who are making a difference in what we eat and how we experience food. From Oregon to Maine, this story captures the essence of each farmer’s vision, the spirit of the land that they work, and the beauty and flavors of the foods that they lovingly produce. From a melon grower who is “militant about flavor” to sheep-cheese producers who have built their own mold-culturing caves to an urban farmer growing heirloom tomatoes on abandoned lots to the now-paved-over lands from his childhood, Ableman’s odyssey takes him to those who are trying to answer the complex questions of sustenance philosophically and, most importantly, in practice.
“…the richness and beauty of our food is inextricably connected to a community of innovative and passionate farmers and to the land that they nurture.”
– Alice Waters, Chez Panisse Restaurant
David Cohlmeyer, Founder of Cookstown Greens, Alliston, Ontario
David Cohlmeyer came to Canada from the US in 1972 and quickly became a gentle but powerful alternative voice as chef and restaurateur at Beggar’s Banquet, as food and agriculture columnist of the Globe and Mail and as the founder of the Toronto Culinary Guild. But he is best known as a farmer. He founded Cookstown Greens in 1988 – a farm (one hour north of Toronto) supplying our leading chefs with fantastically inspiring produce – everything from edible flowers to heritage vegetables to obscure herbs and perfect asparagus. Cookstown Greens steadily grew from a 2 acre family garden to over 90 acres with four year-round greenhouses and winter root-cellars managed by a dedicated team of 7 full-time year-round employees (including seeders, transplanters, cultivators, harvesters, washers, packers, and deliverers); and 4 returning Mexican migrant workers. A tireless advocate for locally grown foods, a generous contributor to innumerable causes and events, he is a pioneer, a leader and the environmental conscience of everyone who knows him
David Cohlmeyer has now retired from the highly acclaimed Cookstown Greens business he built; to return to Professional Consulting. He continues his volunteer support of the local good food movement by being on the Advisory Council for Sustain Ontario and the Steering Committee for Slow Food Toronto.
In 2010, David received the Governor General’s Award for Stewardship and Sustainability.
This post is also available in: French