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Sustainable agriculture advocate to present annual Thompson Lecture

Sustainable agriculture advocate Michael Ableman will deliver Monmouth College’s annual Samuel M. Thompson Memorial Lecture on March 28.

Free and open to the public, Ableman’s lecture will be presented at 7 p.m. in the Morgan Room of the College’s Poling Hall.

An organic farmer, community organizer, photographer and writer, Ableman’s work is about sustaining life, from the life of the soil, to the incredibly diverse life on an organic farm, to human life in community with the planet.

He will speak about his new book, Street Farm: Growing Food, Jobs, and Hope on the Urban Frontier. In 2008, he co-founded North America’s largest urban agriculture project, Sole (Save Our Living Environment) Food Street Farms. Copies of his book will be available for purchase after the lecture.

“While Sole Food grows amazing food, we are really in the business of growing people,” he wrote. “Plant a seed in fertile soil, provide it with everything it needs to thrive and it will produce abundantly and deliciously. SOLE Food farmers are very much the same.”

Said Patrick Holden, founding director of Sustainable Food Trust, “Michael Ableman is one of a handful of inspiring visionaries on the planet who are redefining our future food systems.”

A frequent lecturer to audiences all over the world and the winner of numerous awards for his work, Ableman is also the founder of the Center for Urban Agriculture at Fairview Gardens in Goleta, Calif., where he farmed for 20 years. He is also founder and director of the Center for Arts, Ecology and Agriculture based at his family home and farm on Salt Spring Island in Canada.

“His work is interdisciplinary, with connections to ethics, justice, the arts, organic farming/gardening practices, environmental sciences and citizenship from local to global levels,” said Monmouth professor Anne Mamary, one of the organizers of the annual lecture.

Samuel M. Thompson, for whom the lecture series is named, served in the philosophy department at Monmouth College for 46 years. After graduating from Monmouth in 1924 with a degree in English, he earned master’s degree and Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton University. Most notable among his publications were two popular textbooks: A Modern Philosophy of Religion and The Nature of Philosophy. Thompson died in 1983.