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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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“[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.
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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. It is undeniable that what is needed is a massive revolutionary movement to localize the global food supply to the greatest extent possible, starting in our own communities and regional foodsheds.
As Anna and Frances Moore Lappe say in the preface, the power of local food “is its capacity to upend a life-destroying belief system that’s brought us power-concentrating corporatism… Food’s power is connection itself.”
Vicki introduces us to the powerful idea of relational eating, “being in relationship with the food, farms, farmers, forests, waters, soils, air, and other critters in a local living food system,” and shows us how it can be a compelling pathway to human freedom and community. The story of Vicki’s own journey is intimate, revealing, inspiring, and useful, a rich contribution to the noble work of regaining our food sovereignty.