Kitchen Table Sustainability: Practical Recipes for Community Engagement with Sustainability

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Kitchen Table Sustainability offers a unique view of sustainability through the lens of community engagement. It takes sustainability out of the ivory towers of universities, government departments and planners to the kitchen tables of the world. This practical guide distils decades of wisdom from community planning, engagement and sustainability practice internationally into a user-friendly and engaging book that is both inspirational and packed with hands-on tools. The core of the book is a bottom-up approach to participatory community engagement and development, referred to as EATING, that consists of six components: Education, Action, Trust, Inclusion,
Nourishment and Governance.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'Wendy Sarkissian and colleagues come through again, giving us fresh ideas and perspectives.' -John Forester, Cornell University

'This timely book opens the door so that the theory and practice of sustainability can enter into the experience of the 'everyday' ... [Wendy Sarkissian] has pioneered innovative planning and development approaches in an astonishing variety of contexts.' -Beth Offenbacker, Chair of the American Planning Association International Division

'Heads up for the brilliance and warmth of Kitchen Table Sustainability! Because the book is rooted in the human scale, it exudes the aroma of possibility.' -Chellis Glendinning, award-winning author of My Name Is Chellis and I'm in Recovery from Western Civilization

'Offers accessible, insightful thinking about the most daunting challenge facing 21st century cities.' -Leonie Sandercock, University of British Columbia

'Drawn from a lifetime of experience ... and a wide reading of the pertinent literatures, this is a primer of community planning for a turbulent age.' -John Friedmann, School of Public Affairs, UCLA

'The authors' metaphor of a kitchen table is brilliant, and this is a large and welcoming table indeed, with room for all to squeeze around it... This is a book rich in practical insights and advice, useful processes, engagement tips and strategies, and successful stories told.'-Timothy Beatley, University of Virginia

'A book to be savoured... The process will generate hope and will help communities to face whatever else life will throw at them.' -From the Foreword by Peter Newman, Curtin University, Western Australia

'A powerful, reflective contribution by this great pioneering practitioner and her team on the vital importance of community engagement for achieving local and global sustainability.' - Nick Wates, author of The Community Planning Handbook and The Community Planning Event Manual and editor of

'Loaded with examples of good practice in the operation of voluntary groups and coalitions... Definitely recommended reading for community activists.' -Green World

'Useful and thought-provoking information'-Food Ethics Council

'Wendy Sarkissian’s prolific output on community planning shows no sign of diminishing with the release of these twin guides, aimed directly at practitioners. What gives the texts particular potency is that in an increasingly corporatized and technologically smitten arena of ‘community consultation’, the powerful examples and case studies - without resorting to nostalgia nor sentimentality - lay testament to enduring principles of effective community engagement, most notably commitment of time and trust.'-Prof. Geoffrey Woolcock, Urban Research Program, Griffith University, Australia

'Kitchen Table Sustainability is useful for practitioners interested in community engagement and sustainability. It encourages us all to tell our own sustainability stories and to reflect on them. By avoiding jargon and including passion about sustainable and engaged communities, the book is accessible to a wide audience and is user-friendly for those who share that passion.' - Cornelia Butler Flora, Community Development: Journal of the Community Development Society 2012 Vol. 43, No. 2

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Wendy Sarkissian PhD, a planning practitioner, academic and speaker, has co-authored many award-winning books on planning and community engagement. Nancy Hofer is a planning postgraduate student at the University of British Columbia. Yollana Shore is a community engagement practitioner, therapist and entrepreneur. Steph Vajda is a community cultural development practitioner based in Brisbane, Australia. Cathy Wilkinson, based in Sweden, provides sustainable planning advice to city governments across the world.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Professor Peter Newman
•Perhaps the World Ends Here' by Jo Harjo

1: Introduction
2: The Sustainability Story
3: Community Engagement: A Pathway to Sustainability
4: The EATING Approach...
5: Education
6: Action
7: Trust
8: Inclusion
9: Nourishment
10: Governance
11: Conclusions, Challenges and a Way Forward


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