March April issue of Awareness Magazine : Vinit Allen, Designing  a World That Works

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Awareness Magazine
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Book Reviews

by Sonia von Matt Stoddard


Fighting Back in An Age
of Industrial Agriculture
By Mark Winne

Despite increased efforts to adopt programs to support local agriculture and nutrition education, the majority of the food consumed in this country is still highly processed, regulated and manufactured through unsustainable methods. Author Mark Winne, writer, speaker and consultant on community food-system topics, strongly believes that there is an urgent need to expose the truth about the industrial food system.

People should not have to surrender individual health or freedom in order to eat healthfully. A rapidly-growing alternative food system is slowly coming to the forefront, where people are reclaiming their connections to their food and health. Now is a perfect time to join this movement to improve our personal well-being, and the health of our earth.

The first part of this book deals with the urgency of our current food crisis, the industrial food system, its shortfalls, and the damage that continues. The “system” in place focuses on profit versus the consideration of humans and their environment. The second and largest part of the book focuses on our right to exercise control over our food and its production.

Winne explores individuals and systems around the country that are bringing self-reliance back to the community. We find examples of people who are engaging the current system and becoming more connected to their geography and are making positive changes in their eating habits and their overall health.

Published by Beacon Press, this book is available at your local bookstore or


Heal Your Body and Stay Healthy by Following Nature’s Simple 21-Day Plan
By Andrew Iverson, N.D.

Many of the diet and lifestyle change books ascribe to a “now or never” doctrine and readily admit that “diet” really means a strict regimen that does not easily translate into an adoption of better habits from this point on. This book begins with a 21-day plan that starts you off slowly and incrementally, so you actually have time to digest the nuances along the way, have a chance to practice them, then add them to the next day and the next step.

Awareness of your current situation and getting you to realize that “auto-pilot” is not the answer, and is actually a big part of the problem, is step one. We are then introduced to not only the importance of water, but when and how we should drink it for optimum results.

Gradually, the author moves onto other areas, always reinforcing the use of foods found in nature as the answer to our ills. For example, most animals don’t cook their food in nature, so it is better to eat from the source, whenever possible.

Author Iverson had the rare privilege to be mentored by a classical naturopath, after having experienced general malaise of his own. He pursued a degree in botany while working side-by-side with his mentor, then went on to earn his doctorate in naturopathy.

This book builds each chapter and next step by clearly incorporating the previous days’ message, so success within the program is a natural progression and truly is incorporated as a lifestyle.

Published by Trilium Health Press, this book is available at your local bookstore or


Hidden in Plain Sight
By Elaine Wilkes

Divided in four sections, we are introduced to nature’s secrets, first through the actual appearance of a plant and how it might be able to improve your physical health, then to secrets about emotional and mental well-being, how seemingly haphazard events in nature may have a vital purpose and how food, drugs and deceptions harm us and cost us our ultimate harmony with the earth.

Author Elaine Wilkes is a self-proclaimed “learning addict” with a degree in naturopathy (alternative medicine) a master’s degree in psychology and degrees in nutrition and communications. She uses her expertise in these areas to show how these disciplines all synergistically work together to help the body-mind-soul connection.

Wilkes asks us to take time to stop, look and listen to our surroundings and acknowledge the bounty that exists. For example, she includes a picture showing the inside of a walnut.

It is shaped like a heart. Could it mean that it is also a heart-healthy food? Included are illustrations, charts, quizzes, examples, and sections on winning secrets, communicating with nature, the dark side of nature, as well as ways to harmonize with our environment.

We often forget to look at nature as our mentor and nurturer. This book arouses our curiosity by combining ancient wisdom with modern research, and imagination with science, to help us see nature in a unique way. Learn how to use ancient, intuitive wisdom to heal the planet and ourselves.

Published by Hay House, Inc., this book is available at your local bookstore or


The Wild Path to Reconnecting with the Earth
By Catriona MacGregor

Winner of the National Best Books, Best Social Change Book in 2010, this book will speak to anyone who senses a void in their life. It begins by exploring our relationship with nature, how we are touched by it, and how we have lost touch with the universe and ourselves. Nature-based spiritual practices have been marginalized by organized religion, but the practices and wisdom still exist. It is up to us to find our rhythm and learn how to live within the cycle of time, instead of outside of it.

Within the next chapters, we explore the wisdom of the wild and how to read the signs of nature. The power of plants, animals and sacred places are all discussed in depth. Next, we move on to inner “wholeness” including vision and nature quests, rites of passage and how to heal ourselves as well as how to nurture our creative sides.

Author Catriona MacGregor is a catalyst for positive change and an authority on global environmental trends. She believes that the way we interact with the world around us affects our health and well-being more than we know.

Our growing disconnection with nature leads to a variety of ills, but by reconnecting to the environment around us, we can move beyond simply using nature, to joining into a true partnership with nature.

Published by Beyond Words, this book is available at your local bookstore or


Reclaiming the African American Environmental Heritage
By Dianne D. Glave

Starting each chapter with a fictionalized historical vignette to visually illustrate what is to follow, the author prepares a case for why recovering ecological traditions by way of gardening may offset toxins produced through urban industrialism.

Overturning the stereotype that a meaningful attachment to nature and environment is contrary to the black experience, this book integrates oral histories and anecdotes from African Americans, anthropological studies, discussions and criticisms into a cross-cultural environmental analysis.

A range of subjects are covered, including topography of the south, religion, resistance, preservation, conservation, gardening and the study of nature, as well as a lovely discussion about heritage and the future.

The author has published articles in a wide array of scholarly journals and currently teaches history at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. She points out that racism and segregation resulted in an inequitable access to quality land, including agriculture and environmental amenities like places for recreation.

In the author’s words, this book is a quilt work designed to reveal the thoughts of farmers, artists and novelists dotted throughout the South, and pays homage to every and any person in the African diaspora who was a farmer, a laborer or child who wondered at the flight of a moth.

Published by Independent Publishers Group, this book is available at your local bookstore or