Thirty years ago, Frances Moore Lappé, then a 26 year-old in Berkeley, wrote the groundbreaking Diet for a Small Planet a book that started a revolution in the way Americans think about food and hunger (and has since gone on to sell 3 million copies and counting!). Lappé challenged the experts who were predicting imminent famine. Revealing that the world actually produces enough to make us all chubby, she helped us see how we generate the very food scarcity we say we fear. Most importantly, she showed how each of us has the power to choose the opposite: a diet best for our bodies and also best for our planet.
Now Frances and her daughter, Anna, pick up where Diet for a Small Planet left off. Responding to the yearning of more and more people for deeper meaning in their lives, the Lappés undertake a maverick mother-and-daughter journey of discovery. Crossing five continents, the Lappés explore some of the most puzzling questions of our time:
Why, as societies, do we create the very inequalities and devastation of nature that, as individuals, we abhor?
Are there paths we each can walk that will, in practical ways, heal our lives and help the planet?
How can we build communities in tune with nature's wisdom in which no one anywhere, has to worry about putting food safe, healthy food on the table?
Searching for answers, Frances and Anna take us with them into worlds beneath the radar of the global media.
From the foothills of the Himalayas to the lush farms of Brittany, the Lappés expose the false tradeoffs within corporate globalization: chemical agriculture or starvation; genetically modified foods or scarcity; corporate capitalism or chaos. In Hope's Edge we discover, indisputably, that we have choice.
We travel to the San Francisco Bay Area to explore a revolutionary approach teaching children respect for the environment and humanity as they grow food in the school's garden and then prepare it for each other at the same time rejecting corporate giants such as McDonald's, Coca-Cola, and Domino's Pizza that have infiltrated our school cafeterias. Across the Bay, the Lappés discover the Garden Project, where former local prison inmates are working in their own organic garden a form of rehabilitation that is reducing re-arrest rates, assisting ex-convicts with job placement, and feeding the community in turn.
We meet peasants in Brazil who are facing down big landowners to create vibrant communities and tackle the roots of hunger in Latin America. We tour one of that continent's largest cities that has made good, healthy food a right of citizenship. We celebrate the efforts of village women in Bangladesh, working with loans from the Grameen Bank to lift themselves out of the viscous cycle of poverty. We meet poor villagers in Kenya who are turning back the encroaching desert, and take heart from renegade farmers in Wisconsin, undeterred by widespread hardship, who are learning to thrive while caring for the land. As we walk with these trailblazers who are transforming fear into creative action, we can see possibilities for change in our own lives that before were invisible.
"In all these places, write the Lappés, "we discovered people who are not accepting corporate global capitalism as it is but are evolving it so that growing and eating good food and economic life itself is again embedded in life-affirming values and community."
An intimate mother-and-daughter journey, Hope's Edge is also a far-reaching, impeccably researched vision for social and environmental transformation. The Lappés reveal strikingly parallel insights emerging across our planet insights springing us free from the prevailing thought traps that lock us personally and globally into self-destruction. What the Lappés offer in place of these traps is a guiding framework gleaned from the breakthroughs of people they meet on their journey a framework as useful in grasping our global predicament as in finding meaning in our lives. According to the Lappés, because food is our most primal need and common bond to the earth and to one another, it has unique power to ground us in our personal search for meaning.
Hope's Edge also celebrates vegetarian, organic, and whole-foods culinary pioneers who in the last 30 years have brought us back to the sensual pleasure of eating fresh, whole foods and reconnecting us to the earth and to those who tend it. It features nearly seventy recipes from trailblazers such as Mollie Katzen (The Moosewood Cookbook), Anna Thomas (The Vegetarian Epicure), and Alice Waters as well as mouth-watering menus from some our country's most celebrated natural foods restaurants including Angelica Kitchen (New York City), The Millennium Restaurant (San Francisco), and Chez Panisse (Berkeley, CA).
Join one of our country's foremost activist thinkers, Frances Moore Lappé, and her daughter, Anna, on a trip around this small planet. Hope's Edge: The Next Diet For A Small Planet helps each of us find new courage to trust ourselves and choose the world we want. For everyone who grew up with the original Diet for a Small Planet, and for those who have just discovered it, the result is a compelling look back at where we've been and an inspirational vision of the world we can choose.
PUSHING THE EDGE OF HOPE
We're packed in on a flight from southern India to steaming New Delhi. The smell of curry fills the plane cabin. From her beaten-up backpack on the floor next to me, Anna pulls out a book to brush up on what we're about to see. Opening to a chapter on Indian food traditions, she starts reading aloud, but at the second sentence she stops. Puzzled, I peer over her shoulder and read, as she has, the Sanskrit word for food.
It is "anna."
We looked at each other, stunned. Almost thirty years ago, at exactly the age Anna is now, I wrote Diet for a Small Planet, exploring the question: Why hunger in a world of plenty? It was a book that would set me on a lifelong path-one grounded, I only realize thirty years later, in the very name I had unwittingly given my daughter. Anna turns the page, and we read on, learning that Annapoorna is the Indian goddess of food. We can't know what we'll find on the rest of our ...
If you liked Hope's Edge, try these:
Bestselling author Barbara Kingsolver returns with her first nonfiction narrative that will open your eyes in a hundred new ways to an old truth: You are what you eat.
Anything That Moves is a highly entertaining, revelatory look into the raucous, strange, fascinatingly complex world of contemporary American food culture, and the places where the extreme is bleeding into the mainstream.
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