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

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Overview

The bestselling coauthor of Your Money or Your Life chronicles her quest to eat food produced within 10 miles of her home

Taking the locavore movement to heart, bestselling author and social innovator Vicki Robin pledged for one month to eat only food sourced within a 10-mile radius of her home on Whidbey Island in Puget Sound, Washington. Her sustainable diet not only brings to light society’s unhealthy dependency on mass-produced, prepackaged...

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Blessing the Hands That Feed Us: Lessons from a 10-Mile Diet

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Overview

The bestselling coauthor of Your Money or Your Life chronicles her quest to eat food produced within 10 miles of her home

Taking the locavore movement to heart, bestselling author and social innovator Vicki Robin pledged for one month to eat only food sourced within a 10-mile radius of her home on Whidbey Island in Puget Sound, Washington. Her sustainable diet not only brings to light society’s unhealthy dependency on mass-produced, prepackaged foods but also helps her reconnect with her body and her environment.

Like Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and the bestselling books of Michael Pollan, Blessing the Hands That Feed Us is part personal narrative and part global manifesto. By challenging herself to eat and buy local, Robin exposes the cause and effect of the food business, from the processed goods laden with sugar, fat, and preservatives to the trucks burning through fuel to bring them to a shelf near you.

Robin’s journey is also one of community as she befriends all the neighboring farmers who epitomize the sustainable lifestyle. Among them are Tricia, the prolific market gardener who issued Robin’s 10-mile challenge; Britt and Eric, two young, enthusiastic farmers living their dream of self-sufficiency; and Vicky, a former corporate executive turned milk producer.

Featuring recipes throughout, along with practical tips on adopting your own locally sourced diet, Blessing the Hands That Feed Us is an inspirational guide and testimonial to the locavore movement and a healthy food future.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
10/28/2013
In September 2010 veteran sustainability activist Robin (co-author of Your Money or Your Life) consumed only food from her neighbor's small market garden or made within a 10-mile radius of her home on Whidbey Island in Puget Sound, Wash to see if she could survive solely on locally produced food. She recounts how confronting her food beliefs and habits was the "last bastion" in her quest to live frugally and with integrity. The challenge drew her back into the world, calmed her own tendencies to overeat, and taught her the real meaning of community. Despite the restrictions of a 10-Mile Diet and costly government regulations that cripple small famers, Robin presents the ultimate freedom of self-sufficiency attractively, attributing a wide range of benefits to what she calls "relational eating"—from losing weight and ensuring good health, to forming lasting friendships and helping those in need. Readers may smile when hyper-frugal Robin decides that paying $5 a pound for locally raised chicken is well worth the money, and breathe a sigh of relief when she realizes that "local" is as much a state of mind as a geographical location. This is an idealistic yet practical effort, offering tips for creating sustainable communities and recipes from Whidbey chefs utilizing the island's bounty. Agent: Beth Vesel, Beth Vesel Literary Agency. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
“[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
 

Library Journal
12/01/2013
Part memoir, part guidebook, and part cookbook, this title provides some insight into the eating habits of Americans. Robin (coauthor, Your Money or Your Life) takes readers along with her on her month-long journey of eating hyperlocally, a term she defines for herself as only consuming food that was raised or grown in a 10-mile radius of her home on Whidbey Island in Puget Sound, WA. Writing candidly and humorously, Robin expertly describes the community of farmers and makers who are involved in providing for the dinner table, breaking down the business of food and showing readers the relationships that can be forged and salvaged through eating locally. VERDICT This locavore read puts its money where its mouth is. Robin deftly combines strong storytelling with recipes, and those interested in eating locally themselves will find concrete steps they can take.—Cassidy Charles, Morristown & Morris Twp. Joint Free P.L., NJ
Kirkus Reviews
2013-11-03
One woman's experiment to eat only local foods. While grazing at a potluck table loaded with food, Robin (co-author: Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence, 2008) decided to take up a local farmer's challenge to eat only the food she could provide herself. But after some more consideration, the author realized that might be too limited, so the plan expanded to include any food produced within a 10-mile radius. She planned to live on that and a few "exotics"--tea, salt, spices, oil, lemons and limes--for a month and see what happened. What unfolds in Robin's homey, conversational prose was far more significant than she ever expected. She sought to lose a few pounds, get healthier, make new friends, grow closer to nature, and gain a better understanding of the amount of physical, emotional and environmental energy required to produce food. The author encourages readers to explore their own relationships with food; examine how it was prepared and eaten during their childhoods; find what local sources of food exist in their neighborhoods; learn to cook from scratch for healthier and less expensive food; and figure out how to continue this new way of eating for far longer than just a month. Throughout the book, Robin includes helpful information on how to set up "Transition Towns…a citizen-led approach to bulking up community resilience, a tool for people who wake up to the power communities have to respond proactively as global resources, finance, and climate change prove ever more unstable." Recipes from Robin's local growers round out this call-to-action plan to buy local and live healthier and more responsibly. An entertaining and informative memoir/self-help guide to living well on locally grown food.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670025725
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/7/2014
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 464,217
  • Product dimensions: 5.92 (w) x 8.38 (h) x 1.15 (d)

Meet 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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