Interested in eating local? Growing your own food? Getting back to cleaner resources? Me too. “Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence: Revised and Updated for the 21st Century” author Vicki Robin has been an activist, risk taker and someone who’s experimented with all kinds of community living for most of her life. So when she was challenged to limit her eating to a 10-mile radius for one month, she couldn’t resist. As a resident of Whidbey Island in Puget Sound, WA, this actually turned out to be quite a challenge! I received a copy of her book, “Blessing the Hands that Feed Us,” for review, which documents her journey, including the weeks it took her to plan her diet, learning to grow some of her own food, meeting and befriending farmers and even taking on the challenge of drinking raw milk. The lessons she learned were so powerful, it changed her life and her mission.
What I love about this book is the message of hope in it. Robin realizes that there is just no way for even the residents of Whidbey Island to all eat within such a small area – nor for anyone else across America – supply and demand would decimate the resources too quickly. That does not stop her from offering hope, ideas, suggestions and, indeed, a food revolution for the rest of us as she learns to eat more locally on a regular basis.
I also learned a lot – not just about food processes on both industrial and local levels – but statistics on where we stand in regards to eating as a planet and in our country. There are great tips on how to be frugal as well – Robin’s other passion – and great information I could use, like how to really get involved and befriend farmers at a local market, how to get the best and cheapest from your grocer’s produce section and how to eliminate waste.
My favorite chapter is “Relational Eating,” which provides a to do list on supporting local food sources that you can embrace and start right away. My decision to buy my first CSA bin was influenced by this book. In addition, lovely, hand crafted recipes are supplied at the end of nearly every chapter.
Not everyone is going to like some of the lessons that she’s learned. The fact is, if everyone went 80% organic, the farmers couldn’t support that. Some purists will clearly reject some of these ideas – but I encourage you to read and follow her solutions to the end. She has some amazing ideas that will fire you up. My other complaint is that the book is a bit wordy.
For the eye-opening perspective, the calls to community action and the mouth-watering recipes, this book is worth it! It’s a dynamic read that will teach you a lot and make you really think about our food supply and the people who create it, be they small farmers or corporate entities.
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