I was planning to write a book review for you, something informative and analytical, but I find that all I have to say about Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is READ. IT. PLEASE.
It’s basically about one family’s decision to spend an entire year eating nothing but the foods they could grow themselves or buy locally and their adventures in creative dining, but on a larger scale it’s about the way our country approaches food. Problems: unsustainable agriculture, which produces massive amounts of food but slowly poisons the soil. Genetic modification of plants, which does more harm than good. Farmers unable to make a living, shoved out of business by enormous corporations. A nation that is utterly out of touch with where its food comes from, leading to a deep sense of wariness toward said food and a host of psychological and physical health issues.
The act of growing and making our own food connects us deeply to our human selves and the ground we live on. The act of sharing with neighbors, buying produce from farmer’s markets and gifting friends with homemade goods connects us with each other. Kingsolver doesn’t outright say it in her book, but eating local foods is about a spiritual reverence for our planet, our bodies, and each other.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle contains profound insight into the convoluted workings of our food culture. If you have a digestive system and a basic grasp of literacy, you should read it.