Saturday, May 12, 2007

Kicking the Industrial Food Habit: Kingsolver Promotes the Joys of Homegrown Eating

Speaking of local farmers' markets (see yesterday's entry on Three Springs Farm and the Cherry Street Farmers' Market), one of our favorite writers has written a new book on the pleasures (and challenges) of growing your own food.

Writer Barbara Kingsolver, best known for her novels, is out with Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, a book about her family's year-long adventure producing their own food on a farm in southwestern Virginia. Actually, Kingsolver's story was was also written by two other members of her family, husband Steven Hopp, and her 19-year-old daughter, Camille.

This trio, along with their younger child, Lily, made a family decision to reconnect with food they ate. That meant months of serious gardening and animal husbandry on their Appalachian farm. It also meant learning to store food for the winter months and lots of old-fashioned home cooking.

From what we've read, the experiment worked. Kingsolver and family say they ate well, enjoying their bounty. They also grew together as a family.

It wasn't always easy or fun, Kingsolver says, but it was a fulfilling change in habit, well worth the trouble.

The book explains other advantages of local production, such as reduced transportation costs for food from California and other major agriculture areas. "Americans put almost as much fossil fuel into our refrigerators as our cars," Hopp writes.

We don't expect that most Oklahomans will adopt Kingsolver's home-grown eating plan. But even a few tomatoes on the patio is a way to connect with the joys of gardening. That, and regular trips to the farmers' market, helps local farmers and is a small step away from the mass-produced industrial food we all eat too much of.

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