Sustainable Saturday - Book Review: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life
Barbara Kingsolver, with Steven L. Hopp and Camille Kingsolver

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life is about one year of food life for a family living on a farm in Appalachia.  The book begins with the family’s permanent relocation from their home of many years in Arizona to their summer farm in Virginia.  Throughout this memoir documenting Barbara, Steven, Camille and Lily’s year of local eating, there are so many different topics discussed in detail from current agriculture practices in the United States to the amount of Fossil Fuel that we use as a Country to transport food across the world to the disturbing truth (at least for me) that most turkey’s raised in the United States are incapable of reproducing naturally. 

As with many books I review on Saving Family Green, there are many well written book reviews available on the Internet and in the case of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle instead of giving a full review of the book I am going to share the thoughts that I had after reading this book.  

This book has made me think more in depth about the food choices that we make at our own home.  We grow a garden, buy locally from a Farmer’s Market and try to make and bake as much from scratch as possible.  But, is it enough?  I find myself wanting to remake my pantry, The Pantry Project, if you will and revamp the way in which I think about food, purchase food and grow food.  Earlier in the season I read The Edible Front Yard and The Backyard Homestead which both move towards this idea of self sustaining a family on the land you have.  

At times I felt discouraged while reading this book especially in sections where food production in this country are described (i.e. Turkeys in the United States are incapable of mating on their own.)  But, as I continued reading I was given hope.  The idea of eating foods when they are in season, canning and freezing for the future months can all be accomplished by both growing our own food and supplementing the quantities we are currently unable to grow with purchases from local farmers.  

So my new quest is how to do this.  If I wanted to plan ahead for food for my family for the next 9-12 months let’s say, what all would I need to buy now from local vendors to get us through the fall and winter months until we can plant our spring garden in 2012?

I have several goals for the coming year:
  1. Grow, Purchase and Eat as much locally grown food as possible.  (Currently we buy vegetables in season from our local Farmer’s Market, purchase meat from a local vendor and grow a garden in our Back Yard.)
  2. Preserve vegetables from our current Back Yard garden.
  3. Preserve fruits and vegetables from our local Farmer’s Market.
  4. Incorporate edible plants or possibly even a garden into our Front Yard landscaping.
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