I usually get to read books for 10-20 minutes per day if I’m lucky. There are plenty of days when I don’t get to read at all and I hate that. But life is life. I’ve finally completed Barbara Kingsolver’s incredible book, called “Animal Vegetable Miracle,” a work of non-fiction where she tells the story of her own family and their quest to eat 100% local food. I don’t mean they bought local food. They actually made an all-out attempt to grow and eat their own food, own their own livestock and make thier own cheese and bread. Or, to put it another way, they lived off their family farm.
In addition to the truly captivating stories of how the family did this, including an awfully bloody chapter where she details the day(s) they had to kill livestock, the book also provides a narrative of just how much we in America have gotten away from the concept of food. So there are, effectively, two parallel tracks going on in this book, both of which left me pretty astounded – and inspired as well.
Now, I can tell you here with great confidence that Steph and I will not be owning and killing chickens. Nor will we make any kind of attempt to eat 100% locally (this is an emerging trend, btw). We will, however, aspire to do what we can to take more advantage of local food. This isn’t to say we haven’t done that in the past, either, as we are pretty careful about what we eat and we visit the Maynard Farmers Market every week to stock up. But this year and hopefully every year that follows, we will make a concerted effort to put our freezer in the garage to good use by stocking up on local fruit and veggies and freezing them for the winter months.
What Kingsolver really moved me on, though, was putting true thought into how you acquire your food and what that food went through to get to your local stores. For example, if you’re buying asparagus in November here in the northeast, it took a long, hard trip and most likely an oil-heavy rig to get here. In all liklihood, it also cost you more because of that. It wasn’t that long ago that people in the U.S. simply didn’t eat certain vegetables because they weren’t in season. Nowadays, in today’s now-now-now world, we don’t even think about that. And it’s sad.
Why, for example, are we ok only eating corn-on-the-cob from August to October and we’re ok with that, but you can’t forego tomatoes or asparagus when they are not in season? For me personally, NOT having corn-on-the-cob during the off months makes August to October even more of a delight. Why can’t it be like that with all vegetables? Well, it can. And it should. I suppose I could write another few paragraphs on how much money you can save by buying/eating locally as well or how it will benefit your local economy. But I think you’re getting the picture. I won’t preach anymore. The book is a real eye-opener. One that makes you want to take real action. I can’t recommend it enough.