As I mentioned in this spring gardening post, I have been reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. I finished the book yesterday and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in food, planting or just wants to read a well written and informative piece of non-fiction. The book begins and ends in the spring so it was the perfect time to get inspired about starting our garden, shopping at the farmer's market and gearing up to have more locally grown and harvested food sources.
To summarize, the book traces Kingsolver's family journey to eat locally for one year. Much of their food source comes from their own Virginia farm with some additional items coming from surrounding local purveyors. The book is packed with information about why they chose to set on this path, how they accomplished it and ultimately what they learned. The why covers topics like the industrialization of the US food system, the current condition of small farming and a general sentiment about food as a sort of religion. The how, which included my favorite parts of the book, gets into the specifics of what they planted, how they did it and what they made from it (recipes included). I don't want to reveal the big take aways but I will say that it left me feeling inspired and ready to make some changes in the way we eat. Below is a short list of things I am thinking about/planning on doing after reading this book.
- Rely as much as possible on the food we can get from the farmer's market - We already sort of do this but I want to make it a priority for this season. Menu planning will start at the farmer's market instead of going in with a predetermined list.
- Become even more conscious about where our meat is coming from - Again, we already are pretty good about this in that we primarily eat organic meat and try to limit our consumption of it but there is always room for improvement. I pretty much plan on only eating meat from Live Springs Farm from here on out (see this post to learn more).
- Eat locally and seasonally - This is something I don't think about enough. I would say I do the local part pretty well during the warmer months but the seasonal thing is more of an adjustment. There is this part in the book about bananas and how the family gives them up as they are not local (nor ever seasonal) and now I can't help but look at bananas or mangoes or any tropical fruit differently.
- Stock up for winter - Since it can be harder to eat locally in the winter (no farmers markets and no crops really) I want to stock our pantry and freezer with the items that we can enjoy and feel good about eating even when it turns cold.
Check out Kingsolver's website to learn more about the book, get recipes and to see images of her farm - I want my own flock of sheep! Have a great weekend!