Thursday, June 25, 2009

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: One Family's Year of Eating Locally Produced Food

For me, the enjoyment of this delightful narrative, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, about a family who commits to eating only locally produced foods, was in the details. While I have written two other reviews of the book for other blogs, the review you will find here is another animal entirely—no pun intended.

I loved reading the turkey sex stories (seriously!) and learning about how agribusiness has taken over the seed industry and the problems they have caused. I enjoyed learning more about CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations, where animals are raised without grazing or seeing sunlight), and their appalling use of antibiotics to kill the inherent bacteria created within these facilities.

Through Kingsolver’s story of zealous zucchini and not enough fruit, I came to appreciate why food costs so much at market. Learning that there is a label for my abstinence from high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) was absolutely exciting. I can now proudly say I am fructose celibate. Sounds kinky, huh?!! Kingsolver’s writing style enthralled me. And listening to her read her own book on CD made it even better. Her voice brought a calm, soft-spoken strength to the issues; she reminded me of a female Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer. I really think these two should meet. Despite their entirely different fields, they both endeavor to bring a difficult message to the masses—one that involves a belief system.

While I have long known that small farmers struggle, Kingsolver’s stories drove this reality home, with her descriptions of poultry harvesting day and mountains of zucchini to find a home for. The challenges vary with each day and each task, and these farmers clearly do not do it for the money.

In as much as I write about the dangers of pesticide use, I had never thought about the collateral animal death from agricultural pesticides. Birds, rodents and rabbits are all at risk in farming areas, with pesticides in the air, land, water, and on the plants and vegetables that they often steal in the night. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle added a whole new level to my commitment to organic foods.

A wonderfully inspiring book, Kingsolver and her family craft an educational, yet charming snapshot of their year as a Virginia farm family. While she professes not to be a purist, she eloquently presents a viable lifestyle for those who might wish to take a crack at producing and/or living off their locally available foods. A must-read for anyone interested in food production, health or limiting their oil usage, her charming family narrative will open your mind to the possibility of not living a life dependent on processed foods from the global marketplace.

Web Resources at the Animal, Vegetable, Miracle website

Can't wait to read it? You can order from my site. In just a couple of minutes it will be on its way to you. Go ahead. You'll love it!

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