Thursday, June 19, 2008

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

by Barbara Kingsolver

The author and her family move to a house in the southern Appalachians with a bit of land and embark on a year of eating as locavores.  With a few exceptions, they eat only things that originate within 100 miles of their farm.  Much of their meat and produce is grown themselves, and they make a point of knowing the origins of the other items.

It’s a bit heavy on the preaching (especially the brief fact boxes from Steven Hopp, Kingsolver’s husband), but then, this is a topic very easy to get worked up about, and it makes for fascinating reading regardless.  There’s a vast wealth of common-sense information here backed up with facts and figures, about the use of fossil fuels to transport food, the way food factories are destroying America’s health at the taxpayer’s expense, how a disconnect between the making of food and the eating of food is connected to America’s fear of food and obesity epidemic, and so forth.  It really is a persuasive, important book, every page a reminder of how corporations crush small business and sell us fetid garbage made cheap through subsidies.  I read it wishing everyone in America would read it and take its crucial messages to heart.  Not everyone needs to be a locavore, but everyone ought, at the very least, understand where food comes from and the benefits of eating sustainable, humane, farm food. 

four stars