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Blessing the Hands That Feed Us: What Eating Closer to Home Can Teach Us About Food, Community, and Our Place on Earth Hardcover – January 7, 2014


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Blessing the Hands That Feed Us: What Eating Closer to Home Can Teach Us About Food, Community, and Our Place on Earth + Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence: Revised and Updated for the 21st Century
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult (January 7, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670025720
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670025725
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #550,072 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“[A] call-to-action plan to buy local and live healthier and more responsibly.”—Kirkus Reviews
 
“[Vicki Robin] realizes that ‘local’ is as much a state of mind as a geographical location.”—Publishers Weekly

“[Blessing the Hands That Feed Us is] about discovering, with gusto, the other end of the industrial food scale and how eating closer to home can affect global issues of hunger, justice, and nutrition. This enjoyable and enlightening book includes practical tips for adopting a locally sourced diet, recipes, and stories about individuals who epitomize a sustainable lifestyle.”—Taste for Life magazine
 
“Vicki Robin has helped millions of Americans reshape their lives in sound and beautiful ways, but this may be her most important project yet—and a crucial one for our tired planet too!”—Bill McKibben, author Oil and Honey: The Education of an Unlikely Activist

“Vicki Robin is a national treasure—a source of wisdom and uncommon sense now directed at the most basic of basics: how and what we eat and how that connects to our health, prosperity, and prospects . . . The ten-mile diet should be national policy!”—David Orr, Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics at Oberlin

“Vicki Robin's Blessing the Hands that Feed Us is part how-to manual for eating ‘hyperlocal’ in an era where we can eat whatever we want at any time of day and part homage to the farmers around the globe who grow our food. I'm inspired not only by Robin's commitment to her own diet, but also her ability to tell the story meal-by-meal and farmer-by-farmer about why we should all be looking more closely at our own diets. Without preaching, Robin shows readers the nutritional, health, environmental, and social benefits of knowing exactly where our food comes from.”—Danielle Nierenberg, Co-Founder of Food Tank: The Food Think Tank

"Whether you're a vegan, vegetarian or eat some meat, this book can show you how and why to include ‘local’ on your list of important food values. Discovering the food of your bioregion, meeting your local farmers, sharing meals with friends, building community through food—all of this is part of personal and planetary health."—John Robbins, author of Diet for a New America and co-founder of The Food Revolution Network

“Vicki Robin is like a Mohandas Gandhi of the 21st Century, modeling a self-reliant lifestyle that can end the violence our industrial food system exacts again our health, our communities, our ecosystems, and our relationships.  Her moving story of how she localized her eating habits accomplishes the impossible:  It serves as a compelling manifesto of localization—including hundreds of practical tips about how we can become more self-reliant on local food—but also is an engaging, delightfully enjoyable read. The book is a blessing, to be shared with family, friends, neighbors, and anyone else you love.”—Michael H. Shuman, author of Local Dollars, Local Sense:  How to Move Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street and Achieve Real Prosperity

"Vicki Robin knows that honest, engaging food writing isn't really about food. It's about friends, family, community, spirit, and soil. It's about joy. This book gracefully contains all six in equal measure."—Ben Hewitt, author of The Town That Food Saved: How One Community Found Vitality in Local Food

"Want to find your way from the highway of overeating to the garden of relational eating?  Of course you do.  For decades, Vicki Robin has been out front, showing us a new path that is not dependent upon mindless consumption.  She has kept right on going, all the way to her local food system.  And what a hopeful, healthy destination she has found, for her and for everyone who wants to truly and beautifully take our country forward."—Woody Tasch, Chairman, Slow Money

“A deeply personal and fun read that manages to both playfully and honestly recount one woman’s journey into reconnection—with food, with community, and with the land itself that feeds us.”—Nina Simons, Co-Founder and President, Bioneers/Collective Heritage Institute
 
"Vicki Robin has made an illuminating experiment that could help lead us all closer to a sustainable world. I especially love the way she weaves global issues into very personal, intimate stories of her own experience."Starhawk
 

About the Author

VICKI ROBIN is a renowned innovator, writer, and speaker. In addition to coauthoring the bestselling Your Money or Your Life, Robin has been at the forefront of the sustainable living movement. She has received awards from Co-Op America and Sustainable Northwest and was profiled in Utne Magazine’s book Visionaries: People and Ideas to Change Your Life. She lives on Whidbey Island in Washington.

FRANCES MOORE LAPPE is the author of numerous books, including the multimillion copy bestseller Diet for a Small Planet. With her daughter, ANNA LAPPE, she cofounded the Small Planet Institute and the Small Planet Fund to address issues of hunger and poverty.

More About the Author

Vicki Robin is a prolific social innovator, writer and speaker. She is coauthor with Joe Dominguez of the international best-seller, Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship With Money and Achieving Financial Independence (Viking Penguin, 1992, 1998, 2008). It was an instant NY Times best seller in 1992 and steadily appeared on the Business Week Best Seller list from 1992-1997. It is available now in eleven languages.

Her new book, Blessing the Hands that Feed Us; what eating closer to home can teach us about food, community and our place on earth (Viking/Penguin 2014) tells how her experiment in 10-mile eating not only changed how she ate, but also renewed her hope and rooted her in her community. She calls this "relational eating." She went on to investigate how we might restore the vitality of our regional food systems so everyone could have the benefit of relational eating - healthy food, healthy communities. She calls this building "complementary food systems," not to replace but to work along side of the global industrial systems we now depend on for almost 100% of our food. Her book offers many practical tools for transformation, from changing our attitudes, to changing our habits to changing our food sources to getting active in social and political change.

Called by the New York Times as the "prophet of consumption downsizers," Vicki has lectured widely and appeared on hundreds of radio and television shows, including "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "Good Morning America" and National Public Radio's "Weekend Edition" and "Morning Edition"; she has also been featured in well over 100 magazines including People Magazine, AARP, The Wall Street Journal, Woman's Day, Newsweek, Utne Magazine and the New York Times.

Vicki has helped launch many sustainability initiatives including: The New Road Map Foundation, The Simplicity Forum, The Turning Tide Coalition, Sustainable Seattle, The Center for a New American Dream, Transition Whidbey and more. In the 1990's she served on the President's Council on Sustainable Development's Task Force on Population and Consumption.

In addition to her sustainable consumption work, Vicki has been a leader in the field of dialogue. She co-created the Conversation Cafés method and initiative, promoting it first in Seattle and then throughout the world. Conversation Cafés are hosted conversations among diverse people in public places on subjects that matter. Vicki has spoken at workshops, conferences and to the media (Readers Digest, National Public Radio, Utne Magazine, The New York Times, The Seattle Times and many local media) about the Conversation Café method and its possibilities for revitalizing our public life.

For fun, Vicki is a comedy improv actress, appearing frequently with her troupe, Comedy Island.

Born in Oklahoma in 1945, Vicki grew up on Long Island and graduated cum laude from Brown University in 1967. She received awards from Co-op America and Sustainable Northwest for her pioneering work on sustainable living. Vicki's one of 61 visionaries featured in Utne Magazine's book, Visionaries: People and Ideas to Change Your Life. A&E Entertainment's show "Biography" honored Vicki as one of ten exceptional Seattle citizens. She currently lives on Whidbey Island in Puget Sound.

Customer Reviews

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This book is recommended for anyone who eats - and/or shops for food.
Nick
Vicki's engaging conversational style made me feel like I was listening to a good friend talk about her latest wonderful life experiment.
BETTY A PRIOUX
Vicki Robin is rapidly emerging as one of the most visible and most important advocates for food localization.
Michael Brownlee

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michael Brownlee on February 15, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Vicki Robin is rapidly emerging as one of the most visible and most important advocates for food localization. It may take some time, but I feel that Blessing the Hands that Feed Us will become a classic in the local food movement. For eaters everywhere, this book is a gold mine of humor, wisdom, perspective (and great recipes). But for those of us who are committed to localizing the global food supply, Blessing the Hands That Feed Us is also a very useful book. This is one that we want lots of people to read!

In recent years, Vicki Robin has been a leader in relocalization—having founded a Transition Initiative on Whidbey Island in Washington, and serving on the board of Transition U.S. (a role that we shared briefly), which as she says opened up a pinhole of hope in her life. But it took the invitation of a local farmer to direct her attention and creative energies to local food. What began as a one-month experiment to live on a 10-mile diet led to an awakening that left her committing her passion and the rest of her life to working towards a simple and powerful vision, that “we can all provision our food needs regionally—if we commit to personal and political change.”

If humanity is to have a future that is both tolerable and resilient, on a planet where life can thrive, we must regain control over our food supply. We must recover our capacity to feed ourselves. And in the process we must regain our food sovereignty and food security, which have been almost completely lost over the last fifty years or so. All this is essential in securing the future of humanity and the viability of life on this planet.

Given what we now know, it is undeniable that what is urgently needed is a widespread revolution in the way humanity feeds itself.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bridgette on February 19, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
As someone who binges on reading about food and the food industry, I really enjoyed this book. The information was new to me, as I had never read a book about eating locally grown food and why it mattered. The author does not demonize the corporate food conglomerates. She points out the problems with them, but she also points out that they are a necessary semi-evil right now. The book is written from her personal experience about eating locally and what it taught her about herself, food, and her community. It has inspired to try gardening again this year. Whether I fail at it or not, I'm going to give it another try. She also shares recipes and many wonderful stories of people, places and food. I believe you will enjoy reading Blessing The Hands That Feed Us. The only thing I did not like about this book was the cover. The cover looked cheap to me and made me not want to read the book. The title and description however drew me in. I want to read her other book Your Money or Your Life. Vicki Robin is a smart woman.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By T. Murrell on March 25, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
There seems to be a lot of focus on locally grown foods, non-GMOs, and harmful food additives in the news and conversations right now. The author has taken a potentially dry subject and infused it with humor and personal stories. What began as a personal story to find out more about the food industry and locally grown products turned into an inspiring book about farmers, gardening, and people in local communities.

I am interested in a healthy alternative to all of the pre-packaged options out there. But I'll admit some reluctance to reading a book about it. But the author has done a great job of capturing the reader's attention while still imparting useful information. I finished the book inspired to change some of my eating habits, work on growing my garden, and checking out some of the local farmers.

I received this book free of charge from Goodreads in exchange for my honest review.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Conscious Reader on January 30, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I first began transitioning to eating as a locavore about four years ago after reading Plenty by Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. Since then there have been several other books published on the subject, but most of these have focused on the surface level, the mechanics of eating locally grown foods--how do you find food growers, shopping at farmers markets, what's a CSA, and so on.

In this book, Robin looks deeper. What difference can it make in our lives when we know the people whose hands grew our food? How does eating change when we know the amount of effort that went into raising that chicken?

This is a difficult book to review because it is really about an unexpected paradigm shift. It's hard to explain a new paradigm and why it might have meaning for you, too, unless you read the book and follow along as Robin leads you through her own awakening.

Most importantly to me, because it reflects my own deepest experiences with locavore eating, Robin writes in depth about how her 30-day local eating experiment dramatically changed her sense of place and her sense of belonging. She describes it as filling a hole in her life she didn't even know was there. She coins the term "relational eating" to describe the connections that she discovered--connections within herself, to local food growers, to her community, and even to the food itself.

She talks about the spirituality of eating, of standing in her yard and realizing she is surrounded by food in nature and wondering how she never really noticed that before. She realizes the bizarre fact that most of us eaters have no idea of the skills and economic resources required to obtain food outside of a supermarket.
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