Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver

Over the past decade I've read many books on diet and nutrition in the hopes of gleaning knowledge to keep me healthy and minimize my impact on the environment. Being a product of the typical American diet I started with a confused sense of the best foods to eat since so much of the food process (farm to plate) is not apparent from walking the grocery store aisles. Barbara Kingsolver and her family aim to dispel some of the mystery of how food comes into being through a tried and true method: grow it themselves.

Thus Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life is just that: their attempt to eat as close to home by raising animals, growing vegetables and educating themselves as to the true cost of food that needs to be shipped thousands of miles to make it to the grocery shelves. Kingsolver narrates the primary sections of the book in a warm and inviting prose that welcomes you into the workings of her family and farm life. Her partner Steven Hopp provides interludes that present the facts of factory farming and give background to their decision to subsist locally. Kingsolver's daughter Camille gives the often humorous perspective from the teenage side of life while sprinkling in yummy recipes.

One warning though: you may be inspired to carve out your own niche in the local foods economy. You may find yourself visiting the farmer's market, joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) or tilling up some of the back yard to plant some veggies. Tis the season to gather food from close by and begin the move away from the gas-guzzling items found in the grocery store.

Check the VBPL catalog for Animal, Vegetable, Miracle--we also have it in ebook and downloadable audiobook for the technophiles. Michael Pollan is another great author who tackles food issues with a local flavor.

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