Rethinking food and farms: Animal, Vegetable, MiracleFriday, August 28, 2009
I finished reading an eye-opening book: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I feel it's a must-read for every American. Barbara and her family moved to her farm and lived entirely on the local production for a full year.
You may not agree with them, you may not understand them, you may not appreciate them. I put myself in all three buckets before reading this book. But being exposed to the ideas presented is worth everyone's time. I'm a believer.
We've all heard about how farming has changed (moving to big corporations) and how they destroy the environment (gas emissions from farm animals, lack of crop rotation destroying soil). But what is less appreciated is how we can change things by eating and growing food closer to home.
Though awareness is growing, this book has helped make it clear why we should change our habits:
If every U.S. citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country’s oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week. That’s not gallons, but barrels. Small changes in buying habits can make big difference</p>
Also gaining awareness is the fact that we rely so much on just a handful of crops. Corn is in nearly every item we buy at the grocery store. From the sugar in soft drinks, to the feed that fattened up our chickens. History has shown this isn't a good way to live:
History has regularly proven it drastically unwise for a population to depend on just a few varieties for the majority of its sustenance. The Irish once depended on a single potato, until the potato famine rewrote history and truncated many family trees. We now depend similarly on a few corn and soybean strains for the majority of calories (both animal and vegetable) eaten by U.S. citizens.</p>
I find it interesting that the more 'affluent' society becomes, the less good food we eat. We shift from water to soft drinks. We go from eating local fruit to munching on kiwi and banana year-round…
Because of this book I'm looking forward to trying new, local, organic fruits and vegetables. I'm excited about a shift in my diet and a new appreciation for food. Again, I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone.
Some useful resources: