|Barbara Kingsolver's epic tale of a year of homegrown food.|
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is an amazing read, and was one of the strongest influences that called me into action when it comes to Mo Farm. I read it last winter, and in my very first blog entry I talked about it and how it compelled me to GET GOING and dig into this new passion I was discovering. It is at once an engaging story, a personal diary, a how-to manual, and a seasonal catalogue that captures the imagination and doles out generous helpings of wry wit and unabashed humour.
The book is the true story of Barbara Kingsolver and her family making the move from arid Arizona back to lush Appalachia in an attempt to step away from reliance on imported food and water and get back to the simplicity of growing and enjoying food close to home. They set out to provide as much food for themselves as possible, and to obtain what other resources they need from people that they know personally. The story in and of itself is engaging enough, but the book is organized by season, and it guides the reader throughout the accounts of successes and failures from the first asparagus in March through to the winter squashes of post-Thankgiving (including 'Harvest Day'... the demise of the turkey) making it a surprisingly useful handbook for those who may be inspired to give the idea a try.
The story is delivered from Barbara herself in the first person, but is also injected with perspectives in essays from her husband Steven, food stories and recipes from her daughter Camille, and tales of chicken husbandry and the egg business from her young daughter Lily.
If you've ever given thought to the food system in North America, or have ever enjoyed growing a tomato, or even once considered that it would be nice to be a little more self-sustainable, you've got to read this book. And once you've read it, you've got to give it to someone else for Christmas.