- Named one of the Best Books of 2011 by the Englewood Review of Books
- Relevant Magazine's Best Books of 2011 List, Honorable Mention selection
- Dr. Robert Cornwall's Best Books of 2011 List
- Memorable Books of 2011 list at Already, Empathy blog
- Humane Society of the U.S.A. Food & Faith Recommended Reading List
- Christine Sine recommended books on Forming Community, Hospitality, and Food
- Recommended Books at Blessed Earth
- Recommended Books on Creation Care and Christian discipleship at Hearts & Minds Books
Here's the Description of Year of Plenty on Amazon:
In 2008, Pastor Craig Goodwin and his young family embarked on a year-long experiment to consume only what was local, used, homegrown, or homemade. In Year of Plenty, Goodwin shares the winsome story of how an average suburban family stumbled onto the cultural cutting edge of locavores, backyard chickens, farmers markets, simple living, and going green. More than that, it is the timely tale of Christians exploring the intersections of faith, environment, and everyday life.
This humorous yet profound book comes at just the right time for North American Christians, who are eager to engage the growing interest in the environmental movement and the quandaries of modern consumer culture. It speaks also to the growing legions of the "spiritual but not religious" who long for ways to connect heaven and earth in their daily lives.
Praise for Year of Plenty:
“The replacement god most in evidence in our generation is consumerism. Year of Plenty is a gentle but insistent expose of this consumerist replacement god. It is also a convincing witness to the sanctity of the everyday, the ordinary, the things we eat and clothes we wear, the names of our neighbors and the money we spend, which is to say, Jesus in our neighborhood.”
--(From the Foreword) Eugene H. Peterson, Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology, Regent College, Vancouver B.C., Author of The Message.
“I heartily recommend Goodwin’s charming, thoughtful, and extremely funny book. With remarkable insight and refreshing humility, Craig Goodwin takes us with him and his family as they learn who and what is behind the things we so often thoughtlessly purchase. Goodwin reminds us how much of community and life we have sacrificed in the name of convenience and low price. Through engaging narrative he skillfully integrates lessons on faith, life, and God, integrating the spiritual with the material and the local with the global. This is an important contribution to the ongoing conversation about our role as Christians in taking care of and enjoying God’s creation.”
-- Scott Sabin, Executive Director, Plant With Purpose, Author of Tending to Eden: Environmental Stewardship for God's People
"Craig Goodwin invites us into a life of paying attention. This is an experiment in God's ordinary: life centered in relationship, lived in a physical world of spiritual meaning, and expressed in daily acts of attentiveness that are unhooked from patterns that degrade us and imperil the world. It turns out to be a wonderful and complicating adventure. Free from grandiosity, sentimentality, or ideology, this book tells its story with captivating humanity and motivating honesty."
-- Mark Labberton, Director, Ogilvie Institute for Preaching, Fuller Theological Seminary, Author of The Dangerous Act of Worship
As someone who had gotten good at resisting grumpy calls to reject our consumerist culture, I found this book delightfully refreshing and compelling. Craig Goodwin describes an experiment in "familial art"--a creative effort to seek out new and very practical experiments living as more faithful stewards of the earth's resources. I haven't started raising chickens or making homemade butter (yet!) after reading this wonderful book--but I have learned some profound lessons.
-- Richard J. Mouw, Ph.D., President and Professor of Christian Philosophy, Fuller Theological Seminary
“Many clergy and other church leaders ask for examples of how and where missional work is actually taking place. Here is a leader faithfully engaging this work in a practical, local, on-the-ground way that leads to new expressions of church in mission. This is the kind of story about a church-in-process we need to hear.”
-- Alan J. Roxburgh, Founder of the Missional Network, Author of The Missional Leader
The Goodwin’s are not the Swiss-Family Robinson -- they are simply not wired that way. But that is to our benefit. We begin to see the Goodwins as an ordinary family who begin to live an extraordinary life. In the process, they more deeply connect to God, to each other, and to all of creation. A fun and challenging read. Don't be surprised if you feel called to raise baby chicks and start planting seeds the following spring.
-- Ryan Bolger, Author of Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Community in Postmodern Cultures
Goodwin writes with humor and insight. In one of my favorite passages, he takes the reader step by step through the connection between American Christianity and consumer culture. His discussion is personal and unassuming but also incisively critical and deeply theological. While I've felt this connection many times, I've never seen it laid out quite so clearly.
-- Amy Frykholm, The Christian Century
Craig writes in a very engaging and often humourous way that is delightfully entertaining but at the same time challenging as he addresses issues of environmental degradation, food justice and the often disinterested response of the Christian community….I heartily recommend Year of Plenty to anyone who is grappling with issues of sustainability, environmental stewardship and simplicity.
-- Christine Sine, Godspace
…this little book cheerfully demonstrates to suburban Joes and Joans that sustainable consumption is doable. It also honors God's earth.
-- Publisher’s Weekly
From the minute it arrived, with a spectacularly beautiful cover and a moving endorsing blurb from Eugene Peterson, I was hooked….This may be one of the sweetest new books of the spring. Year of Plenty is well written with charm and insight; Goodwin is a Presbyterian pastor, a farmer's market manager and a fine educator and neighborhood organizer about preserving food, sustainable lifestyles and the like. Most of all, he's a fun writer, a deeply spiritual leader who sees the connection between faith and food.
-- Byron Borger, Hearts & Minds Books
…Each year brings one or two excellent spiritual memoirs that refresh the genre, and sometimes even transcend it….Goodwin and his wife are Presbyterian pastors, and what sets this book apart from other “yearlong experiment” books is that it brings a deeper level of Christian engagement to the “growing movements that rebel against the consumption status quo and seek to craft a more holisitic and sustainable way of living.” As Eugene Peterson writes in his foreword to the book, Year of Plenty is “a convincing witness to the sanctity of the everyday, the ordinary…which is to say, Jesus in our neighborhood.”
-- Relevant Magazine 2011 Summer Reading List, one of five books chosen in the category of Faith & Spirituality
Here’s the first reason you should meet the Goodwins: They’re not nutty! These values really matter to them as faithful people who believe that God wants us all to share the Earth sustainably—and sensibly….Here’s the second reason you should meet the Goodwins: By accident, because of their taste for good coffee and good rice, they wound up adding a rule to their family’s code for simple living. They decided to link their local community with one foreign country. They chose Thailand, because Nancy Goodwin once had lived in Thailand and actually knows a bit of the local language. They wove their sustainable connections close to home—and across the Pacific to a village in Thailand where their family supported a microfinance program.
These two principles in their book make the Year of Plenty a work of genius—perhaps genius stumbled upon out of real-life necessity, but a work of genius, nonetheless. This Norman Rockwell family sewed together a patchwork quilt of principles that real people can duplicate—and that takes the century-old adage “Think Globally, Act Locally” one step further. The Goodwins—with modest means—managed to “Think Locally, Act Globally”!
…Year of Plenty also is a terrific choice for small-group discussion.
-- David Crumm, Read the Spirit
Goodwin’s story is grounded and not self-congratulatory in the face of such a large undertaking. It is also often humorous as he details making a homemade piñata for a birthday party for one of his two young daughters, learning how to can food from the family garden, trying to find a local source for flour and other staples, and raising chickens in the backyard. With these stories come theological reflections exploring the meaning of “plenty” and opportunities for growth that come from incorporating our faith in making decisions about everyday living and consumption.
I enjoyed Goodwin’s emphasis on how living out the details of sustainability – raising chickens, meeting with local farmers, digging in his backyard garden – opened his eyes to larger issues of sustainability. Through the details he learned about the problems of factory farming, difficulties for local farmers, and perils of conventional agriculture. Goodwin identified his family’s steps towards sustainability as “acts of hope,” which is a helpful way of framing our efforts to care for creation.
-- Katie Holmes, Eco-Journey, Environmental Ministries of the Presbyterian Church (USA)
Year of Plenty has also been featured by The Humane Society of the United States, Fuller Seminary’s Fuller Focus Magazine, Farmers’ Market Today Magazine, Spokane Coeur d’Alene Living Magazine, Mother Nature Network, Beliefnet, Moody Radio, The High Calling, and other media outlets.
Here's the information packet with information related to media interviews, book signing and reading events, review copies, and contact information. Download YOP_Press Kit_FINAL V4
Here's what Year of Plenty looks like on Wordle: