Thursday, August 29, 2013

Inspired By Another Great Read

I've mentioned in a couple recent posts that I've been working my way through some summer reading, notably Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, among other food and nutrition themed reads. I found myself so inspired by Kingsolver's book that I just had to share.

You may recognize Barbara Kingsolver's name from some of her other award-winning works, like The Poisonwood Bible, which was a high school read for me and arguably one of my most favorite books in my formative years of schooling. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is markedly different, serving as an autobiography of her family's year of eating almost entirely locally by sourcing a year's worth of food from their own garden and animals, and buying from local farmers and farmers markets.

What makes this book so profoundly fascinating is not only the story of her family's journey through the year of eating locally, but the sheer practicality of it for the rest of us. It's a reminder that we all have the ability to reduce our food costs while still eating deliciously, locally and humanely if we simply do what has been done for millenia, which is to grow our own food.

Using the grocery store for every food purchase and buying things that are out of season or non-native to our region is a novelty we can largely live without. Growing some of our own food, supporting local farmers who grow what we can't, and going without exotic fruits, processed foods and other environmental degradations should be the norm. And, in an era of increasing focus on oil and energy independence, we rarely talk about food independence which would drastically reduce our need for fossil fuels if we weren't trucking and shipping food thousands of miles.

I love this book because it's a real family sharing a real story that is un-preachy and totally relatable. And along with the great story, she and her family share recipes for each month of seasonal eating, sample menus of their weekly meals, and what it was really like to forego exotic bananas and do without crisp lettuce for most of the year.

Even if you are the most staunch supporter of grocery stores and imported produce or simply hate books about food, I truly encourage you to read this one. I dare you not to be inspired.

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