Last week I was reading my favorite Herb Companion blogs Samurai Sage and The Herbalista. Editor-in-chief K.C. Compton’s post, At My Place: Spring Vegetable Gardening, and associate editor Allison Martin’s post, Kitchen Vegetable Gardening for Beginners, made me think of the various herbs, flowers and vegetables I wanted to grow in my own backyard. Shortly after, I took off to my local nursery.
I asked the owner of my local nursery for some advice and which plants they recommend for my area. The owner suggested a few books I should read, one of which was Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (Harper Collins Publishers, 2007) authored by Barbara Kingsolver and her family. I had already read this book last summer because I was so excited to pick seeds, watch things grow and become affectionate toward my garden.
Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle documents Barbara and her family’s year of eating local food from their own backyard, farmers’ markets and neighboring farms.
Barbara, her husband, Steven L. Hopp, and their two daughters, Camille and Lily, wrote the book as a family. Barbara wrote the main narrative while her husband contributed sidebars focused on the food industry and food production. Camille wrote about meal plans, seasonal recipes and important nutritional information. The youngest in the family, Lily, raised their chickens, turkeys and helped with the farm work.
This book is at the top of my “Favorite Books List” for a few reasons. First, I enjoy the concept of living off of the land and becoming a localvore. Since reading the book last summer, I’ve tried to eat local, in-season foods and grow my own handful of herbs. Second, I enjoyed the family's collaborative effort to follow through with their goal to eat locally produced food. The family proved that with enough planning and preparation, eating local doesn’t have to be limiting or expensive.
Here are a few tips from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle on becoming a localvore:
• Eat in season. Find out what season your favorite produce grow in and plan accordingly—this will vary for each Zone.
• Start a community garden or, if your community already has one, join in.
• Attend farmer’s markets—who knew you could support local farmers while enjoying delicious, fresh foods!
Have you read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle? Are you a localvore? If you have any tips or suggestions for eating local or growing your own food, let’s chat about it. Leave me a comment or send me an email at email@example.com.