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Environmental Studies Expo Explores Strategies for Creating Local and Regional Food Systems

Colby-Sawyer College will host the Environmental Studies Expo and a presentation by Philip Ackerman-Leist, author of Rebuilding the Foodshed: Remapping Our Expectations for the Food We Share. A writer, farmer and professor of environmental studies at Green Mountain College, Ackerman-Leist explores strategies for reshaping local and regional food systems.

Ackerman-Leist will discuss these issues on Tuesday, April 23, at 7 p.m. in Clements Hall at the Curtis L. Ivey Science Center. The event is sponsored by the Environmental Studies Department. The public is invited to attend and admission is free.

His most recent book, Rebuilding the Foodshed: Remapping Our Expectations for the Food We Share, is an in-depth examination of transforming local food interests into community-based food systems through the lenses of food justice, food security, energy, ecological concerns, and market innovations. During his presentation, Ackerman-Leist will focus on investing in food systems as citizens, not just as consumers, and challenges the audience to consider local options as well as regional possibilities. He shares his model of re-envisioning how local food systems can transform the way we eat, shop, grow, connect and plan for the future.

For more than two decades, Ackerman-Leist has farmed in a variety of systems and in various landscapes. Over the past 16 years he and his family have operated a homesteading and farming project in Pawlet, Vt., at “UpTunket” Farm. His prior field experience includes three years managing a farm in South Tirol, Italy, and several years as an employee of an orchard and tree nursery in Norman, N.C.

As associate professor at Green Mountain College since 1999, Ackerman-Leist also established the college's farm in 1997 and the sustainable agriculture curriculum, and he has served as director of the Green Mountain College Farm & Food Project since 2001. In 2010 he founded and became director of the college's Master in Science in Sustainable Food Systems (MSFS), the nation's first online graduate program in food systems, featuring applied comparative research of students' home bioregions. He served for five years as director of Environmental Initiatives at Green Mountain College, developing and managing the college's key suitability initiatives.

Ackerman-Leist earned his Master of Science in Environmental Biology from Antioch New England Graduate School in Keene, N.H., his Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from St. Andrew's College in Laurinburg, N.C., and has studied in China, France, Greece and Italy.

In addition to Rebuilding the Foodshed (2013) Ackerman-Leist is the author of Up Tunket Road: The Education of a Modern Homesteader (2010) and A Homesteader's Ecology (2009). Beyond writing, teaching and farming, Ackerman-Leist serves as a board member for the Vermont Sustainable Agriculture Council and the Poultney-Mettowee Natural Resource Conservation District, is a steward of the Nature Conservancy's North Pawlet Hills Preserve, and is a founding member of the Rutland Area Farm and Food Link. Since 2006 he has been a frequent speaker, panelist, guest lecturer and multi-media presenter for municipalities and academia throughout the United States and in Italy.

-Kellie M. Spinney

Colby-Sawyer College is a comprehensive college that integrates the liberal arts and sciences with professional preparation. Founded in 1837, Colby-Sawyer is located in the scenic Lake Sunapee Region of central New Hampshire.

Colby-Sawyer College, 541 Main Street, New London, N.H. 03257 (603) 526-3000