Connect with us on Facebook!
[Feeds & Readers]
Follow us on Twitter!

Make us your home page!
Authors, sign in!

« Discomfort, Anger, Tears, and Foolishness | Main | Mistress, Schmistress »

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver

By Beth Boisvert
February 23, 2008

It seems like everyone wants to try things out for a year these days, and then write a book on it: Maria Headley said yes to every date request for a year; A.J. Jacobs lived Biblically for a year. Author Barbara Kingsolver chose (with her family) to live a year focused on food -- specifically, the food that was produced near her home.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (Harper Collins, May 2007) took me on a journey through the food seasons so brilliantly described that while reading it, I could practically smell the dirt!

Kingsolver's premise is that so much of the food that Americans consume is from somewhere other than where they live. This uses up precious fossil fuels, causes the destruction of farmland (and its inhabitants), and generally leaves us with sub-par food, so that not only do we not know where food is supposed to really come from, but we don't know what it really tastes like!

With that in mind, Kingsolver resolves for one year to only consume foods which have been either grown/produced by her family, or purchased locally (with a few necessary exceptions like coffee and olive oil). In the midst of her musings, her husband Steve interjects biological facts, economic statistics, and political commentary, and her older daughter Camille provides recipes and a teenager's take on the experiment.

Kingsolver crafts her story brilliantly, weaving humor (turkey sex) and practicality (botulism is not to be trifled with) with steady resolve. She is obviously passionate about local agriculture's battle against corporate giants, and yet she never comes across as bitter or self-righteous. At some points, she seems almost heartsick at the way America's been tricked into consuming so much that's so bad for us.

Towards the end of the book, she writes about a conversation she had with a friend of hers who was producing a film on global cimate change. Her friend wondered how to move people enough to lose their complacency, but not so much that they are immobilized with fear. She didn't have an answer for her friend, but one answer is this book. I have personally already started considering my eating habits, looking at the chicken breasts in my freezer and wondering what kind of atrocities had the chickens suffered in their short lives, and looking at the tofu I thought was such a good alternative and wondering what kind of damage had been done to the environment to make it and get it to me.

Kingsolver ends the book on a note of hope. Local farmer's markets are increasing, many states include vouchers for them in their WIC programs, the "locavore" phenomenon is starting to gain popularity, and many school districts and even prisons are partnering up with local farms. Perhaps there's a chance.

And I, for one, look forward to the day when I, too, might get to watch two heirloom turkeys have sex.

Comments (1)

What a great first post! Yeah! That's exactly what our country needs - more heirloom turkey sex! Welcome Beth!


Post your own comment

(To create links here or for style, you may wish to use HTML tags in your comments)

Our sponsors help us stay online to serve you. Thank you for doing your part! By using the specific links below to start any of your online shopping, you are making a tremendous difference. By using the links below, you are directly helping to support this community website:

Want to browse more blogs? Try our table of contents to find articles under specific topics or headings. Or you might find interesting entries by looking through the complete archives too. Stay around awhile. We're glad you're here.

Browse the Blogs!

You are here!

This page contains only one entry posted to Everyday Citizen on February 23, 2008 3:43 PM.

The blog post previous to it is titled "Discomfort, Anger, Tears, and Foolishness"

The post that follows this one is titled "Mistress, Schmistress"

Want to explore this site more?

Many more blog posts can be found on our Front Page or within our complete Archives.

Does a particular subject interest you?

You can easily search for blog posts under a specific topic by using our List of Categories.

Visit our friends!

Books You Might Like!

Notices & Policies

All of the Everyday Citizen authors are delighted you are here. We all hope that you come back often, leave us comments, and become an active part of our community. Welcome!

All of our contributing authors are credentialed by invitation only from the editor/publisher of If you are visiting and are interested in writing here, please feel free to let us know.

For complete site policies, including privacy, see our Frequently Asked Questions. This site is designed, maintained, and owned by its publisher, Everyday Citizen Media., The Everyday Citizen,, and Everyday Citizen are trademarked names.

Each of the authors here retain their own copyrights for their original written works, original photographs and art works. Our authors also welcome and encourage readers to copy, reference or quote from the content of their blog postings, provided that the content reprints include obvious author or website attribution and/or links to their original postings, in accordance with this website's Creative Commons License.

© Copyright, 2007-2011, All rights reserved, unless otherwise specified, first by each the respective authors of each of their own individual blogs and works, and then by the editor and publisher for any otherwise unreserved and all other content. Our editor primarily reviews blogs for spelling, grammar, punctuation and formatting and is not liable or responsible for the opinions expressed by individual authors. The opinions and accuracy of information in the individual blog posts on this site are the sole responsibility of each of the individual authors.