I just finished reading Barbara Kingsolver’s latest, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.
I picked it up off of the library’s display shelves, thinking that I might get to it, being that I have been reading a lot lately about food and the environment, including The $64 tomato and The Omnivore’s Dilemma. As it turned out, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I ended up forcing my girlfriend Meghan to read it, and feeding off my friend Anne’s responses to it.
Its an easy read about Kingsolver and her families’ transition to a local diet based around an old family farm in Virginia. It discusses each of the trials and joys through a year of growing and raising their own food, and basing their diet on seasonal foods. Not only does it include her poetic prose about how wonderful it can be, but it also brings in two different perspectives, her husband and teen daughter. along with their points of views, the reader is treated to a set of recipes that follow the families’ year.
I felt that the book was informational, enjoyable, and easy to follow. I’m sure that it helped that I am currently procuring a garden and it discussed some of the things that I have come up against like too many squash to handle. To me it read like a softer and more positive perspective on the slow food movement and Michael Pollen’s Omnivores Dilemma .
I thought that the lifestyle they live is interesting and even attainable to us city folk, but it does have its pitfalls. In an economy like ours, even though we may want to focus on the environment and local organic agriculture, it is extremely difficult. There are many discussions about how to truly change the way food is consumed we need to make it accessible to all, including the poor and disadvantaged. The government’s food stamp program now works at farmer’s markets, but its difficult to justify a purchase of a small bag of vegetables you might get from a farmer’s market compared to the two bags you might acquire from a cheap supermarket. Growing food is also surprisingly easy, but its difficult to have enough land or sunlight to grow enough for a family of 4.
After reading this book, I have changed the way I look at food and will change my diet based on seasonal and local vegetables (that I can afford). But I think we need to continue to look for ways to bring these ideals to the mainstream lowest common denominator. With the way things are going, we will develop these things through need not want or personal philosophy
Listening to Boards Of Canada