Excerpt from Hope's Edge by Frances Moore Lappé, Anna Lappé, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Hope's Edge

The Next Diet For A Small Planet

By Frances Moore Lappé, Anna Lappé

Hope's Edge
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  • Hardcover: Jan 2002,
    400 pages.
    Paperback: Apr 2003,
    400 pages.

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Print Excerpt

Looking back to what we thought was possible when I wrote Diet for a Small Planet, I realize that if I had predicted any of their achievements, I would have been considered delusional!

In the book's closing chapter, we give shape to all we learned along the way, and share five liberating ideas we absorbed from the lives and work of those we met. We believe that these orienting ideas are as useful in our daily struggle to live meaningful lives as they are in sorting out the biggest global issues of our time.

Then, in Taking Off, we suggest entry points and offer resources that can help us to become co-creators of the world we want; entry points that flow directly from the lessons gathered on our journey.

Throughout the book, nestled between the chapters, you'll find vegetarian recipes to tempt your palate. And in the last section of the book, Coming to Our Senses, you'll discover dozens of recipes from chefs and cookbook authors-pioneers in whole-foods, organic, and vegetarian cuisine-recipes that are also a celebration of the distance vegetarian cuisine has traveled from the broccoli-stir-fry days of the early '70s. To awaken ourselves to new possibilities and sustain ourselves in the face of false messages of despair, we must engage all of our senses.


To free ourselves from the thought traps-to bridge the painful disconnect between our inner and outer worlds-my hunch at age 26 was that food is a perfect starting place. Because food is our most primal need and our common bond to the earth and one another, it can ground us as we stretch ourselves to draw in all the interlaced threads-so we can weave a whole, meaningful picture for ourselves.

I still believe food has this unique power. With food as a starting point, we can choose to meet people and to encounter events so powerful that they jar us out of our ordinary way of seeing the world, and open us to new, uplifting, and empowering possibilities. They call us to travel "hope's edge."

By hope's edge we mean many things.

Yes, with global warming melting polar ice caps, with the obliteration of thousands of species each year, with the loss of almost one-third of our agricultural land over a single generation, our planet is nearing the point at which hope, honest hope, will no longer be possible. Yes, every day, we are pushing our little planet closer to hope's very edge.

But something else has been happening over these thirty years, too. The people we met on our journey are living this story. They are pushing forward the edge of hope with what they prove is possible. They are creating new space in which each of us can find hope.

We must warn you, though: This kind of hope isn't clean or tidy. Honest hope has an edge. It's messy. It requires that we let go of all pat answers, all preconceived formulas, all confidence that our sailing will be smooth. It's not a resting point. Honest hope is movement.

So you see, this one book is actually two. Yes, it is a literal journey of mother and daughter, exploring evidence of change afoot that's invisible to most of us. But it's another kind of journey, too. For to heal our planet and to find joy in this challenging time, each of us must also take an interior journey, one probing not only our unspoken fears but also our deepest beliefs about our nature as human beings.

Personal and social transformation can't be disaggregated. As we gain inner strength, we can perceive wider changes that before might have eluded us. As we gain confidence that the world can change, we can grow at the most personal level. So, Anna and I like to say that our book is not only about hope, but also about happiness. Through writing this book, we've become convinced that happiness is not a shallow, selfish goal; it's a virtue we cultivate by taking the leap-by refusing to be bystanders or victims of history. It is what we create by bringing all of ourselves consciously to the challenge of discovering our special place in that long walk, one pushing-and ever expanding-the edge of hope.

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