November 15, 2011

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver

This book changed my life.

That is such a cliche, but it's true, and I don't know if I can honestly say that about any other book. It's totally changed my attitude towards where I buy my food from and farmer's markets. Granted, I already leaned towards buying local food and had stopped buying any food from China because it all seems to be tainted, but I had a bad attitude towards farmer's markets. They were overpriced, I thought, and if you don't get there early they run out of everything, and they're sort of pretentious and elitist anyway. So not true. I've been going to the winter farmer's market at Nat Bailey Stadium, and there are so many farmers there, and so much fresh local produce and organic meat and eggs. No one's running out. The organic, free-range, SPCA-approved eggs are cheaper than at Whole Foods or anywhere else, and while it may be cheaper to buy potatoes and apples at Kin's, they certainly don't have the wide range of choices available at the market, and I can't be certain they're from as local a source. At the market, I bought blue potatoes from a cowboy whose son huddled under a Star Wars blanket, and apples I never heard of, that I imagine Anne of Green Gables might have crunched on, from some earnest-looking farmers. I'd so much rather support them directly.

I was actually kind of bored by this book at the beginning. The first part covers ground that anyone who's read Fast Food Nation or a Michael Pollan book already knows. But then it gets to the good part- a year of eating locally, mostly by growing their own food. It's so interesting, and even though most readers don't have a few acres of land to start a working farm, it's not off-putting at all. At no point did I think, "I can't do this." Kingsolver and her family aren't saints. They still buy coffee. But they don't buy bananas, and that is a commendable sacrifice.

No comments: