Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
Just got finished reading this book and wow, what a wonderful journey it was.  And talk about inspiring!

The book is by famed author Barbara Kingsolver, and instead of fiction, it's a work of non fiction, chronicling her family's journey as they move from the life they've known in Arizona, to a self sufficient existence in rural Appalachia.  Once they are there, they decide to live for one year on just the food available locally to them, and only grown at the time of year they are eating it.  More often, they end up doing this themselves, starting with seeds and going through trial and error.  They raise meat birds as well, and the sections on that are hysterically funny.

The part I was most fascinated with was how she came up with a growing/eating plan called the "vegetannual".  It's a fictional plant that bears something in just about every month of the year over the course of one growing season.  It's sort of a 'visual' growing guide of what you should grow/eat at different times of the year.

The book is scattered with lots of useful information and facts written by her husband, and even recipes, written by her daughter, making it a sort of collaboration with her husband and children. One thing I love is that she doesn't sugarcoat their lives.  It's tough, it's hard to stay focused, it's hard work, and there is unpleasantness to deal with (processing the birds).  But in the end, it's a inspirational journey that shows one family, one person even, can begin to make a difference in the world.  Even if that world is their own local world of food.  Eating healthier and using more sustainable resources is something we can all benefit from.

The book is available just about anywhere, online or in bookstores or the library.  If you'd like to visit her website, you can do that by CLICKING HERE.  She actually updates their journey and how things are going on a regular basis (the book was written in 2007).  If we hadn't already embarked on our own journey toward self sustainability, this would have definitely been a trigger.



Dani said...

1st Man - It sounds like an inspiring book - thank you for the information :)

HolleyGarden said...

This book is what triggered my resolve to eat organically and locally. I've been doing it for a year now, (I cheat occasionally) and I feel absolutely empowered. I didn't know if I could stick with it, but I now know I could never go back to eating all that processed food. I'm not self-sustainable (oh, how I wish, but oh, so much work!), but I do grow vegetables, can, and visit the farmers market (even there you have to ask questions). Loved this book.

1st Man said...

It really is a great, fun read. If nothing else, you'll come away with a fascinating new understanding of how our food "gets" to us.

1st Man said...

It's a great book huh? I loved it and if we hadn't bought a farmhouse and land, i would have been out shopping for it anyway, ha. It did inspire us to more organically and locally, though we do have a hard time sticking to it all the time but it did change how we think and what we buy. And it will definitely make us create the farm of our dreams.

SmartAlex said...

Love that book! I keep a loaner copy because it's one of those I keep wanting to share!

1st Man said...

OK, now I LOVE that idea! A loaner copy! Awesome way to pass on the knowledge and maybe get a few more people thinking differently about food. Thanks for doing that of course, and thanks for the suggestion.