Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle"
Barbara Kingsolver takes a look at locavores.
To say that reading this book raised my consciousness would be a misstatement because I was introduced to issues I didn’t even have a consciousness about.
The thrust of Kingsolver’s book is best described by the word locovore, referring to someone who eats only food grown or harvested within 100 miles of home. Because of their strong commitment to ecology and conservation esthetics, her western Virginia farm family of four resolves, as much as is practical, to become locovores for a year and takes the reader along for the ride.
One of the plusses of the locovore movement is conservation of natural resources. In a side-bar titled "Oily Food," Kingsolver points out that each food item in the typical U.S. meal has traveled an average of 1,500 miles. Factoring all the processing and handling steps, the energy calories consumed by the time that dinner gets to the table far outweighs the calories the family takes in. We are putting almost as much fossil fuel into our refrigerators as we put into our cars, to the detriment of our nutrition and the profitability of the oil companies, she asserts.
Lest you think that "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" is one gigantic rant about agri-business, far from it. Kingsolver takes the reader to Italy for a vicarious vacation. She explains about cattle raising, why heirloom vegetables and fowl taste so good, shares the writing stage with her husband and older daughter Camille and walks us through younger daughter Lily’s venture into the egg business. Camille reveals family recipes that elevate the locovore viands to do-able, healthy treats. And speaking of treats, the humor that spices the pages of the book reveals the wit of the author, and her ability to entertain while she educates.