Animal Vegetable Miracle

Last year I discovered the work of Barbara Kingsolver quite by accident. I was browsing through the audiobook section of the library and found Flight Behavior.

Flight Behavior

I vaguely recalled having read something about it, so I decided to give it a go. I love it when authors are talented at reading their own stories, and she definitely is. I fell in love with the main character, Dellarobbia, and knew what it was to feel trapped after marrying young.

A couple of months ago I decided to check out what else she’d written. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle caught my fancy.

Animal Vegetable Miracle

Our library had it as an audiobook, so I was able to hear her wonderful accent and all her passion. The book is her family’s story of a year of being locavores. Kingsolver and her family had a garden, canned, and went to farmers’ markets. They also made most of their food from scratch. It is an entertaining and highly motivating book. This is so what I would do if I had my own yard and more than 650 square feet of living space. It was wonderful to have a how-to type of manual.

It reminded me of An Inconvenient Truth in that after talking about the need for change, it gives concrete examples of what could be done to help make it happen. I’m still doing many of the things from that movie all these years later.

Once my attention was drawn to it, I started paying attention to where the food in the market comes from. I am spoiled being a California girl. It does mean that a lot of things are grown within 100 miles of where I live. I was even more amazed by the amount of things on the shelves that started their life in a different hemisphere. I’ve been making an effort to ensure that most of the produce we consume is from nearby. In case you hadn’t already guessed, this book was my primary inspiration for rejoining a CSA.

Many of the reviews on Goodreads talked about the self-righteous tone of the book. I never felt that. As I read the better elaborated complaints – always giving people the “why” when they turned down food, not bending to a teenage houseguest’s food wishes – I realized why I never detected the tone. For eight years I kept as Kosher as I could in an apartment without a Kosher kitchen. I would very politely explain if I couldn’t eat something, or bring my own meal to a gathering so I could still participate in the social event. I simply don’t view explaining my beliefs to be preachy. I wasn’t trying to proselytize, and while Kingsolver strongly articulated her personal beliefs, I didn’t feel judged by them. Then again, I have drunk of KoolAid and therefore might be a bit blind to it.

What was the last book you read that changed your behavior? or Could you live off of only in-season, locally grown foods after being spoiled by the world market of our grocery stores?

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