Review: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
If it's one thing Barbara Kingsolver knows how to do its write, and write well. I don't think anyone could make a year of living off the food they've grown in their backyard farm as interesting as she has.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is the story of Kingsolver, her husband and two daughters, as they spend a calendar year living off the food they can produce in their backyard (including butchering their own livestock) or buying from friends and neighbours at the farmers market in the southern Appalachians in the United States. Interspersed with facts about our current industrial food system, and the high amounts of non-renewable resources it wastes, as well as Kingsolver's personal experiences, this book is not just entertaining to read but exceptionally informative about our current food crisis.
Living in the suburbs my whole life I was only vaguely aware of the growing seasons of fruits and vegetables, where my mom kept a small summer garden which was always overflowing with snap peas, and had no idea of how much timing and preparation goes into growing organic and natural foods.
It's a question that had always confused me that is also addressed in this book that really resonated with me. Whenever I go to a superstore like Wal-Mart or Costco and see a lot of men and women who are dressed in nice, expensive clothing, with fancy cell phones and jewelry, who only want to buy the cheapest, least nutritious, mechanically engineered, packaged food to save some money. If these people really care about what they look like, they should be paying more attention to what they put into their bodies.
I like how this book covers not only the environmental concerns, like the dangers of crop failure, of our current food production system, but also the concerns of the people who are trying to make a difference and produce organic and delicious foods, and should be receiving more recognition for their efforts. I think a major theme of this book is to start doing your part and knowing that ever little bit counts. By buying from farmer's markets and supporting smaller business, you're helping to a build a food community in your area, which in the long run really does make a big difference.