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Year of Plenty Paperback – March 1, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"The replacement god most in evidence in our generation is consumerism. Year of Plenty is a gentle but insistent expose of this consumerist replacement god. It is also a convincing witness to the sanctity of the everyday, the ordinary, the things we eat and clothes we wear, the names of our neighbors and the money we spend, which is to say, Jesus in our neighborhood." 
--(From the Foreword) Eugene H. Peterson, Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology, Regent College, Vancouver B.C., Author of The Message
"I heartily recommend Goodwin's charming, thoughtful, and extremely funny book. With remarkable insight and refreshing humility, Craig Goodwin takes us with him and his family as they learn who and what is behind the things we so often thoughtlessly purchase. Goodwin reminds us how much of community and life we have sacrificed in the name of convenience and low price. Through engaging narrative he skillfully integrates lessons on faith, life, and God, integrating the spiritual with the material and the local with the global. This is an important contribution to the ongoing conversation about our role as Christians in taking care of and enjoying God's creation." 
-- Scott Sabin, Executive Director, Plant With Purpose, Author of Tending to Eden: Environmental Stewardship for God's People
As someone who had gotten good at resisting grumpy calls to reject our consumerist culture, I found this book delightfully refreshing and compelling. Craig Goodwin describes an experiment in "familial art"--a creative effort to seek out new and very practical experiments living as more faithful stewards of the earth's resources. I haven't started raising chickens or making homemade butter (yet!) after reading this wonderful book--but I have learned some profound lessons. 
-- Richard J. Mouw, Ph.D., President and Professor of Christian Philosophy, Fuller Theological Seminary

About the Author

Craig Goodwin writes a popular blog that focuses on food, faith, and justice in the rich agricultural region of the Inland Northwest. His family's story has been featured on NPR, PBS, and in the New York Times. He is a Presbyterian pastor, a farmers' market manager, a master food preserver, and a fire chaplain. He has a Doctorate in Missional Leadership from Fuller Theological Seminary. Goodwin speaks regularly at schools, churches, and other community organizations about sustainable food and redemptive consumer practices.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Sparkhouse Press (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451400748
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451400748
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #758,544 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
From The Hillhurst Review ([...])
With poignancy and wit, Craig Goodwin relates his family's year of living locally in the new book, Year of Plenty: One Suburban Family, Four Rules, and 365 Days of Homegrown Adventure in Pursuit of Christian Living. Frustrated after one more Christmas of buying gifts that they didn't like and didn't need, Craig and his wife, Nancy, decide to do what seems so rare these days: they changed their way of life. Five rules, hatched hastily over dinner one night shaped the next year of their family's consumption: local, used, homegrown, homemade and Thailand (you'll just have to read the book to understand that last one).

In spite of a growing genre of books about families and individuals spending a year eating locally, this book, and the Goodwin family's experiment, is not about jumping on a cultural bandwagon. Goodwin's experience brings a fresh perspective to the growing conversation about environmentalism and sustainable living, which is captured in the subtitle. Theirs is an "adventure in pursuit of Christian living." Arguing that Christian faith has been largely colonized by the modernist narrative of consumption and unlimited growth, the Goodwin family deliberate steps off the treadmill and dares to ask whether there is something deeply amiss about our "normal" way of life. In a play on Wendell Berry's well-known phrase, "eating is an agricultural act," Goodwin declares, "eating is a theological act" (195). He goes on to explain,

For those of us who claim an ultimate allegiance to the Jesus who is redeeming all things (Col. 1:20), decisions about what we purchase or don't purchase are vital expression of our faith. In a world where everything is being gathered up "in Christ" (Eph.
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Format: Paperback
There are all kinds of books that encourage readers to do this or that or the other thing to make the world a better place. But most of them seem to be written by people who live in a world without children or working parents or birthday parties or neighbors or moderate incomes or any of the other challenges of normal life. The fact that the Goodwins are a real family working through the very real struggles of changing their patterns of consumption makes this book not only far more practical than others like it, but far more charming. Craig Goodwin is a thoughtful, provocative, engaging, gifted writer who can describe his garden in the kind of poetic detail that will give you goosebumps, then turn around and make you laugh at his secret stash of chocolate chips three paragraphs later. Craig, his wonderful wife Nancy, and their two darling daughters don't pretend to have all the answers nor do they make their experiment in sustainable living sound easy or flip. And yet you will find yourself wanting to follow their lead and find your own ideas for living in a way that protects the earth, supports the work of those who bring us our food and other consumable goods, and honors the Creator who designed it all.
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I connected with Year of Plenty author Craig Goodwin first via Twitter (@craiggoodwin). Craig is a Presbyterian minister in Washington State with a passion for local food, gardening, food preservation, Jesus and a passion for how all those things fit together.

Year of Plenty is a book about his family's journey growing food, consuming thoughtfully, eating locally, and being in relationship with the people who produce what goes on their table. From the jacket: "In 2008, Pastor Craig Goodwin and his young family embarked on a year-long experiment to consume only what was local, used, homegrown or homemade. In Year of Plenty, Goodwin shares the winsome story of how an average suburban family stumbled onto the cultural cutting edge of locavores, backyard chickens, farmers markets, simple living, and going green."

If you're like me, you're probably thinking, "Sounds a lot like Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" (by Barbara Kingsolver). True, there are several situations that indeed seem to come from the same place as Kingsolver's: local food vs. food imported from across the globe, how animals in the food chain are treated, gardening, raising chickens, etc. Thankfully, though, Craig answers this critique right out of the gate; "Does the world really need another book about one family's year-long consumption experiment?" he asks. The answer, he says, is that this book is about a theology of plenty, that followers of Jesus have something unique to offer the consumer/green conversation.

Goodwin weaves into his stories the way his theology informs his family's consumer decision-making processes. Instead of this being an environmental crusade, it's largely a relational crusade. After all, in Christian theology, we love our neighbor as ourselves.
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Pastor Craig Goodwin had no intention of formulating a life changing experiment while out with his family shopping one night but thank goodness they did! This book has provided a refreshing perspective on the foundational elements of family relationships and relational society that seemed long since lost but not forgotten when analyzing consumerism, food, and community. Welcoming to any reader, Christian or otherwise, the basis of real life experiences, challenges, disappointments, and victories allow you to be invited in and be challenged. I felt the opportunity to make educated decisions for my life based on some incredible principles, but rather than a feeling of ridicule, redemption. I highly recommend this book for a wonderful and inspirational change of pace. It's a good supplement to any small group study!
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