Saturday, June 28, 2008

Pictures and a book report

I haven't posted pictures for a while, so I will scatter a few throughout this otherwise non-picture realted post!

The book I meant to write about earlier is Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver. Unfortunately, I returned it to the library without remembering to copy out the quotes I wanted to. Rats! But, it is okay, because eventually I am going to buy my own copy, because I LOVED this book. Why do I love it? Here's the list:

* It is by one of my favorite fiction authors, and she brings the same gifts to her nonfiction writing: humor, honesty, kindness, and thought-provoking intensity

* It tells the story of a grand experiment: she and her husband and daughters live for a year on food they either grow themselves or that they can buy locally - the term locavore is more widely known now than when they began.
* They are not over-the-top fanatical: yes, they have a lot of good land to farm in a Virginia hollow, but they aren't willing to give up coffee and non-native spices but they find an acceptable way to buy these things (via fair trade sources).

* The book itself is a family effort, with her husband contributing sidebars on scientific and biological ideas, issues, and resources; oldest daughter contributing short columns and recipes; and while the younest daughter doesn't write for the book, she is clearly just as involved in the experiment as anyone else (I loved the stories about her hen flock and her business acumen).

* What could have been guilt-inducing was instead inspiring. I don't have land to farm, the knowledge or inclination to do so, but there are indeed many ways I could adjust our buying habits in order to bring our food purchasing and consumption more in line with what we believe.

To this last end, we've decided to frequent the farmers markets more often - there's one we can get to quite easily on Saturday mornings, and one downtown on Thursdays. Also, more locally grown and organic produce and meats. On our last trip to the grocery store we really noticed the prices being higher than, say, a year ago.

Trying this experiment of our own may not save us much money - though the more we can resist out-of-season produce the better chance it will - but at the same time, maybe I would rather we are good food rather than cheap food. I don't like that this is the choice so many people are faced with in this country. I don't like it that the cheapest food in the grocery stores is the highly-processed, not-good-for-you food!

At the very least, we will do our own grand experiment and see how it turns out.

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