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Blessing the Hands That Feed Us

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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


15 min read
10 take-aways
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What's inside?

Eating locally matters – to support your local farmers and your health.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative


Vicki Robin, a sustainable-living activist, gave herself a month-long challenge. She would eat only locally farmed food produced within 10 miles of her house on Whidbey Island in Washington state. Her experiment changed her. She formed deep bonds with the neighbors who gave or sold her fresh produce, dairy, chicken and beef. Eating locally knit her more closely to her community. She rediscovered the flavors and taste of fresh food. Robin bemoans that people don’t know where their food comes from and rails against processed, packaged food being cheap and convenient while small farmers struggle. She shows how to support local farmers and explains the benefits of eating locally. Some will find her activism inspirational and contagious, while those less interested in sustainability may be put off by her vehemence. getAbstract recommends her journey to those willing to examine the choices they make about what to eat.


Accepting the Challenge

In 2004, Vicki Robin had been diagnosed with stage-three colon cancer. While she recovered, food became personal. As an activist, she had encouraged others to consume less. Now she needed to clean her own house after a lifetime of yo-yo dieting, losing weight and gaining it back.

At a Fourth of July potluck picnic on her home island, South Whidbey Island in the state of Washington, she ran into her friends, Tricia Beckner and her husband Kent Ratekin. When they began talking about Morgan Spurlock’s movie, Super Size Me, Tricia told Kent, “You should do a ‘super-veggie me.’ Eat only what grows in my garden for 30 days.” Kent wasn’t interested, but Robin said, “I’ll do it.” This experiment fit her “kind of quirky” thinking. She wondered if she could live on vegetables for a month without the fat- and sugar-laden foods she craved. What about meat or dairy? Could she feed herself using only local resources?

Pam Mitchell, a market gardener, helped Robin calculate her food intake. Tricia Beckner and Robin planned to start the experiment in August. But Beckner’s all-vegetable diet proposition seemed a bit harsh. Robin suggested an alternative...

About the Author

Sustainable-living activist Vicki Robin also wrote the bestseller Your Money or Your Life.

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