Book club: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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Book Clubs > Book club: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
ShadowMom's Avatar ShadowMom 01:06 PM 09-20-2007
I am about halfway through "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" now.

I think this book has revolutionized my way of thinking about food just as much as "Our Babies, Ourselves" changed the way I think about babies and my role as a parent. Which is a huge amount.

I'm sure that this is something everyone has already thought through - but really, all of her arguments for buying local food and making your own can also be applied to lots of other areas - clothing, for example. Lots of the same arguments also apply to clothes, notably :

1. The environmental waste of transporting clothing from other countries and then all around the U.S.
2.The fact that almost no clothing is made locally anymore
3.We have gotten used to having very low quality clothing, versus the detail and attention that lower production allows
4.We have gotten used to having a LOT more clothing than is really sustainable in the long-term, most likely
5.Local clothing would be healthier (and possibly organic), and probably more natural as well (as in natural fibers)
6.We would value our clothing more if we knew who made it, or made it ourselves


I will have to read Deep Economy, it sounds right up my alley right now. First, I've got to finish A V M though.

Hey, has anyone read "Plenty", also called the "100 mile diet"? That one is supposed to be pretty good too. The thing that bugs me a bit about A V M is that for someone who has raised their own food their whole life, and lives on a farm, and has lots of experience already with farming and agriculture and canning and all of that stuff, is going to find it much easier to eat only local food for one year than, well, the rest of us. Plenty seems like more of a book written by an average Jane and Joe trying to eat local and what their experiences are like.

I wish it wasn't too late in the fall to start a garden (although I think I'm going to get a big pot and start some garlic, so I will have garlic in the spring). However, I think in the spring I may get into the whole "Square Foot Gardening" thing and try to start raising some of my own vegetables and stuff.

Also, I think it's worth noting that just reading about all of the delicious vegetables that Kingsolver is always talking about, not to mention all of the various ways she mentions for using them, has made me try some new vegetables and shown me some more ways to incorporate them into my diet. This has been hard for me because I grew up in a house where really the only vegetables were canned green beans, canned corn and canned spinach. KWIM? Surely I'm not the only one who has had a hard time with that.

Sorry for the rambling post - this book is so thought provoking.

Keeta's Avatar Keeta 02:57 PM 09-20-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowMom View Post
I am about halfway through "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" now.

I think this book has revolutionized my way of thinking about food just as much as "Our Babies, Ourselves" changed the way I think about babies and my role as a parent. Which is a huge amount.

I'm sure that this is something everyone has already thought through - but really, all of her arguments for buying local food and making your own can also be applied to lots of other areas - clothing, for example. Lots of the same arguments also apply to clothes, notably :

1. The environmental waste of transporting clothing from other countries and then all around the U.S.
2.The fact that almost no clothing is made locally anymore
3.We have gotten used to having very low quality clothing, versus the detail and attention that lower production allows
4.We have gotten used to having a LOT more clothing than is really sustainable in the long-term, most likely
5.Local clothing would be healthier (and possibly organic), and probably more natural as well (as in natural fibers)
6.We would value our clothing more if we knew who made it, or made it ourselves


I will have to read Deep Economy, it sounds right up my alley right now. First, I've got to finish A V M though.

Hey, has anyone read "Plenty", also called the "100 mile diet"? That one is supposed to be pretty good too. The thing that bugs me a bit about A V M is that for someone who has raised their own food their whole life, and lives on a farm, and has lots of experience already with farming and agriculture and canning and all of that stuff, is going to find it much easier to eat only local food for one year than, well, the rest of us. Plenty seems like more of a book written by an average Jane and Joe trying to eat local and what their experiences are like.

I wish it wasn't too late in the fall to start a garden (although I think I'm going to get a big pot and start some garlic, so I will have garlic in the spring). However, I think in the spring I may get into the whole "Square Foot Gardening" thing and try to start raising some of my own vegetables and stuff.

Also, I think it's worth noting that just reading about all of the delicious vegetables that Kingsolver is always talking about, not to mention all of the various ways she mentions for using them, has made me try some new vegetables and shown me some more ways to incorporate them into my diet. This has been hard for me because I grew up in a house where really the only vegetables were canned green beans, canned corn and canned spinach. KWIM? Surely I'm not the only one who has had a hard time with that.

Sorry for the rambling post - this book is so thought provoking.
I think you're right about the clothing angle - it would be so cool to be able to support local clothing designers! Maybe it'll be the next big thing...

Re: Plenty - I keep checking my library system for it. At least a few libraries now have it, but I can't get it because it's on short term loan for just that library (and it's too far away to drive to get it). But I realllly want to read it! Has anyone else read Coming Home to Eat? I have it on hold at the library, waiting for it to come in. Sounds like it's in a similar vein, anyway. Right now I'm reading The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved, which is great! It's more topical/academic-y than memoir style like AVM, but lots of great info. The stuff on biopiracy is truly chilling.

And I've got Omnivore's Dilemma checked out, too. I really want to dive in, but I've got house guests coming for the next 3 weeks! Aargh! Where will I find the time for my food politics fix?!?

And I totally know what you mean about not liking vegetables growing up - we had a LOT of yucky canned stuff in our house, and a LOT of iceberg salads. It wasn't until I moved out and started cooking for myself that I discovered the wonder of "real" vegetables (you mean green beans don't have to be soggy and limp and cooked with bacon!?!)

That's a good idea about growing the garlic in a pot - I hadn't thought of that. I was thinking of ordering some from Seed Savers (they have heirloom seeds of lots of stuff!)
VeganCupcake's Avatar VeganCupcake 03:15 PM 09-20-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowMom View Post
Hey, has anyone read "Plenty", also called the "100 mile diet"? That one is supposed to be pretty good too. The thing that bugs me a bit about A V M is that for someone who has raised their own food their whole life, and lives on a farm, and has lots of experience already with farming and agriculture and canning and all of that stuff, is going to find it much easier to eat only local food for one year than, well, the rest of us. Plenty seems like more of a book written by an average Jane and Joe trying to eat local and what their experiences are like.
I've been looking for Plenty (or the 100 Mile Diet) but I haven't found it in my library system yet. I've heard criticisms of the Plenty people because (I don't know this firsthand; just read about it) because as fall/winter arrived, they moved south a bit.

It's unlikely most of us can be 100% successful in eating locally; even these people who did year-long experiments and wrote books about it had exceptions, special skills, or made adjustments.

But anything we do is better than nothing!

With the local clothing thing, y'all might want to consider the Compact, since it encourages buying used and/or local everything. My blog is VERY unupdated, but Compacting is really liberating.
Valkyrie9's Avatar Valkyrie9 09:36 PM 09-23-2007
I'm a little over halfway through "Omnivore's Dilemma" right now and on the heels of AVM...oh boy. Am I revolutionized and energized! I found a local beef grower through LocalHarvest and just bought 10 lbs. of ground burger from her. She was telling me about EatWild.com and so I'll be trying to throw some business to the local ranchers that way. Poultry is still too expensive to buy locally.

OD has really got me afraid of corn and the unsustainability of our food system. *must find small farm and quit job*
Mamax3's Avatar Mamax3 10:04 AM 09-25-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowMom View Post
.

I'm sure that this is something everyone has already thought through - but really, all of her arguments for buying local food and making your own can also be applied to lots of other areas - clothing, for example. Lots of the same arguments also apply to clothes, notably :

1. The environmental waste of transporting clothing from other countries and then all around the U.S.
2.The fact that almost no clothing is made locally anymore
3.We have gotten used to having very low quality clothing, versus the detail and attention that lower production allows
4.We have gotten used to having a LOT more clothing than is really sustainable in the long-term, most likely
5.Local clothing would be healthier (and possibly organic), and probably more natural as well (as in natural fibers)
6.We would value our clothing more if we knew who made it, or made it ourselves

This is a great point. I have been thinking about this for a while now. We have 4 children, so I have always used hand me downs with them, but since I sew and knit I am really beginning to make an effort to use the fabric and yarn that I have and make their socks, and sew their underwear. It is a start for me, as they are of the ages that they don't want me to make their clothes for school.

In a few years DH and I will be moving our family to a farm so that we can grow our own food and raise our own animals and the kids may be homeschooling depending on how far away we are from the closest school, but this is definately our goal. To become self reliant.
madskye's Avatar madskye 10:31 AM 09-25-2007
I've been trying to figure out how to do it this winter. I only container gardened this summer, so not enough to make my own sauce, etc...but I am seeking out local purveyers. I found a good local italian place yesterday for cheese and bread. Am stocking up on some jams etc from the farmer's market before it goes bye-bye in October.
jennnk's Avatar jennnk 03:33 PM 09-25-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mamax3 View Post
It is a start for me, as they are of the ages that they don't want me to make their clothes for school.
One of my friends gets catalogs instead of magazines, since magazines are mostly advertisements for clothing anyway. She has her daughters, including a VERY popular-at-school, fashionista 11-year-old, go through the catalog and pick out their favorite sweaters. Then she stash-dives or goes to the thrift store for sweaters she can frog and recreates the catalog sweaters. The 11-year-old's classmates have no idea that her sweaters aren't from J. Crew & such. Her 11-year-old and 8-year-old also knit, and made themselves shrugs and legwarmers when those first started being shown in the catalogs and on the runway - they were WAY ahead of the game, since they live in a mid-sized west coast college town
Mamax3's Avatar Mamax3 04:12 PM 09-26-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by jennnk View Post
One of my friends gets catalogs instead of magazines, since magazines are mostly advertisements for clothing anyway. She has her daughters, including a VERY popular-at-school, fashionista 11-year-old, go through the catalog and pick out their favorite sweaters. Then she stash-dives or goes to the thrift store for sweaters she can frog and recreates the catalog sweaters. The 11-year-old's classmates have no idea that her sweaters aren't from J. Crew & such. Her 11-year-old and 8-year-old also knit, and made themselves shrugs and legwarmers when those first started being shown in the catalogs and on the runway - they were WAY ahead of the game, since they live in a mid-sized west coast college town
That's fantastic!!! :
cathe's Avatar cathe 06:18 PM 09-26-2007
I just finished Deep Economy - and WOW! It goes so much further than Animal, Vegetable, Mineral - it's both daunting and inspiring.
sunnylady303's Avatar sunnylady303 05:53 PM 09-27-2007
I read Plenty from our library and I didn't like it. I've loved AVM and OD and others like it, but Plenty didn't give me the same good vibe maybe. I don't know. I didn't like the writing as well, they didn't stay on topic as much. I'll be interested to hear what others thought of it. That said, I'd still read it since it's about this topic that I love so much.
VeganCupcake's Avatar VeganCupcake 06:55 PM 09-27-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnylady303 View Post
I read Plenty from our library and I didn't like it. I've loved AVM and OD and others like it, but Plenty didn't give me the same good vibe maybe. I don't know. I didn't like the writing as well, they didn't stay on topic as much. I'll be interested to hear what others thought of it. That said, I'd still read it since it's about this topic that I love so much.
I still haven't found Plenty, but I heard from my mother that some group in their smallish Canadian prairie town is encouraging people to do a 100 Mile Diet this winter, and there's been a lot of publicity--probably because of the buzz the book has been getting. I think it's great!
SpiralWoman's Avatar SpiralWoman 12:49 PM 09-28-2007
Quote:
I'm a little over halfway through "Omnivore's Dilemma" right now and on the heels of AVM...oh boy. Am I revolutionized and energized! I found a local beef grower through LocalHarvest and just bought 10 lbs. of ground burger from her.
Me too! I am getting 6 whole chickens from a local farmer (pastured of course) and we are getting a group together to get a cow from a Menonite farmer up in KY. OD is a fantastic read & as much as I loved AVM, OD was even more impactful. It just kept getting better.
I have been struggling with meals for the family, just feeling oppressed by being in the kitchen & feeling disatisfied. I've started a new biz this summer & much more interested in tie dyeing in the kitchen than cooking! But since finishing these 2 books, I am so inspired. Connected to the process of cooking & eating like never before. Real connection.

Quote:
And I've got Omnivore's Dilemma checked out, too. I really want to dive in, but I've got house guests coming for the next 3 weeks! Aargh! Where will I find the time for my food politics fix?!?
Keeta, Just start it, you'll end up reading portions out loud to them, it's that good!! While I was reading it I drove my husband crazy: "Honey did you know..." then I could talk on & on about the carbon complexity of corn or where nitrogen comes from .

back to catch up more another time! ~Maria
WeasleyMum's Avatar WeasleyMum 02:29 PM 10-01-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Valkyrie9 View Post
I'm a little over halfway through "Omnivore's Dilemma" right now and on the heels of AVM...oh boy. Am I revolutionized and energized! I found a local beef grower through LocalHarvest and just bought 10 lbs. of ground burger from her. She was telling me about EatWild.com and so I'll be trying to throw some business to the local ranchers that way. Poultry is still too expensive to buy locally.

OD has really got me afraid of corn and the unsustainability of our food system. *must find small farm and quit job*
Oh, I'm reading Omnivore's Dilemma too. I was wondering if there was a bookclub for that one, or if I was a year too late...
SpiralWoman's Avatar SpiralWoman 08:50 PM 10-01-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by WeasleyMum View Post
Oh, I'm reading Omnivore's Dilemma too. I was wondering if there was a bookclub for that one, or if I was a year too late...
we should just be one, lol. Whoever started this thread can edit the title to show both books, or start a new one if you like. I was thinking we should have a locavores thread but wasn;t sure what forum to put it in?
~Maria
ps~ someone was talking about local.organic clothes. I recently sprung for the biz link sig advertising, so I hope it's ok to say take a look!
cathe's Avatar cathe 10:42 PM 10-01-2007
Maybe we could start a tribe in FYT.
Valkyrie9's Avatar Valkyrie9 12:29 PM 10-03-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by cathe View Post
Maybe we could start a tribe in FYT.
I think I'm just going to go do that. I'll call it the Locavores Tribe.
WeasleyMum's Avatar WeasleyMum 02:45 PM 10-03-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Valkyrie9 View Post
I think I'm just going to go do that. I'll call it the Locavores Tribe.
Count me in, I'll go look for it!
eco_mama's Avatar eco_mama 05:39 PM 10-11-2007
I just started chapter 4. :
emmalyne's Avatar emmalyne 05:45 PM 11-13-2007
Im in too... I read both Omnivores Dilemma and AVM while I was pregnant and have become evangelical about their message. I saw BK speak in Seattle and she had such humor while still being passionate it was inspiring.
Gunter's Avatar Gunter 11:35 PM 12-01-2007
i started reading this back in may then put it down b/c of how vegan "unfriendly" it was, IMO. I wanted to get the good out of it though so i just finished it a few weeks ago.
Contrariety's Avatar Contrariety 08:46 PM 12-02-2007
I read this when it first came out and it DRAMATICALLY changed my way of thinking about many things, especially what I eat. I have always been pro-growing my own food and try my best to support local products, but WOW! This book absolutely set it in stone for me.

I love, love, LOVE Barbra Kingsolver! LOVE HER!
speaking_of_faith's Avatar speaking_of_faith 10:33 PM 01-12-2008
I read this book after hearing an interview on the "Speaking of Faith" radio program.

This book really got me thinking about local foods and the un-calculated cost of foods from far distances. I am hoping to read some real life experiences of Moms who have made steps toward eating 'locally'.
anamama's Avatar anamama 01:00 PM 01-17-2008
I was disappointed in how she handled the whole meat-eating thing. It seemed to me to be a rant of justification for eating meat.
I think everyone should make their best decision about what to eat. For some, that might mean eating a plant based diet with a bit of local fish thrown in. Others might feel fine eating veggies, fruits and grains with some locally humanely raised chicken. Some may be totally vegan, some may eat quite a bit of meat. The important bit, the part that impacts our health, our planet's health, and respects the animals who are giving their lives, is that all of our food is raised as ethically and locally as possible.
BK ranting about Alicia Silverstone wanting to open an animal sanctuary (what would she do with all those eggs? when the cows "needed" to be milked?) is beside the point and imo, an incomplete and immature argument. Also the whole bit about "little bunnies and insects are killed when farm machinery goes through fields to gather plant foods". C'mon, that is so weak. Many people (myself included) would simply like to reduce their impact on the planet and other living creatures. I eat a 99% organic, local as is feasible for me diet. My grandfather had a farm. I'm from KY, like Barbara. I know the realities. I choose not to eat mammals. I do not berate my friends who do. I do not supply poor arguments for why people should all be veg, or criticize people for their choices.
While I really like Barbara Kingsolver (I have read all of her books), I don't agree with her on everything. I could leave it at that, if she could restrain herself from overjustification of eating animals. As it is, I'm a bit disappointed in her.
Now, pass me that homemade pizza :
aliall's Avatar aliall 04:26 PM 02-15-2008
I loved the book. In fact it was the inspiration for setting up a locavore site for my area of the country. I read "Plenty" recently too, but didn't enjoy it near as much!

Just think how many resources are wasted so we can eat out of season and from far far away.
That Is Nice's Avatar That Is Nice 08:59 PM 04-15-2008
This was a good book. I was really struck by how incredibly talented the author's daughter is as a writer. The parts written by her daughter were so well written. It must run in the family. I really felt that family and children were important to the author, and I loved how they did things as a family.
audsma's Avatar audsma 03:25 AM 04-25-2008
I'm a big Kingsolver fan, and bought this book for many people after finishing it. It was a part of a wonderful journey for me, beginning with Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan, continuing with my near worship of my favorite farmers as I became a die-hard shopper there, leading to my membership in Slow Food International, and propelling me into Plenty. The gardening aspect on my own, and the inspiration to can/preserve are on my list for this year-- last year it was about sourcing local foods. Still, I loved Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and am sorry (and happy) I lent it out today and can't dive back in.
Evansmama's Avatar Evansmama 04:25 PM 06-27-2008
I love, love, love this book! I too am having a bit of a struggle. I have ocme to the conclusion that while I would love to live exclusively local, I have a toddler to please. Said toddler loves his nanas and apes (grapes!), and living in Oklahoma finding those locally isn't happening. So I now buy all of my meat, dairy, and as many veggies and fruits as I can locally. I suppose I am at least making *some* impact. Once DS is older and I can explain things to him we can alter this. Perhaps with next one I won't even introduce nanas or apes!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jennnk View Post
I'm also wrestling with bananas (how's that for a mental image?). When we go to Trader Joe's (it's 7 blocks away, we're there every 2-3 days), my son eats an organic banana while we shop, to keep him occupied and content and so he's not asking for every.little.thing. Do I continue doing that and continue promoting produce from Ecuador and wherever else, or do I risk Toddler Wrathâ„¢ and tell him "no banana today, honey, sorry"? It's a tough call!

Evansmama's Avatar Evansmama 04:28 PM 06-27-2008
I ordered the kit and made some motzarella using raw whole milk from a local dairy. It was gooooood! I then used it to make home made ravioli's. I was very impressed with myself!
happyhats's Avatar happyhats 04:24 PM 07-06-2008
I really enjoyed this book and it really did put a fire under my butt. But I'm waaaay further behind than many of you. It made me much more motivated to cook from scratch (which I'm doing more and more) and eat fresh produce. Growing up in an all processed food family, those are pretty big steps and I'm feeling all proud of myself, lol. I know, sad. I've also started composting, and I've mapped out where the best places for local produce and meats are so that when I'm in the area I can get them. (I live in the boonies and try to limit my driving so I can't really justify driving thirty miles or more just to go shopping...but when I have to go out that way for my obgyn anyway, it's all good!) This next weekend my family is going to dowtown St. Louis for my sister's birthday, so I'm going to fanagle a trip to the soulard farmer's market!
Metasequoia's Avatar Metasequoia 11:13 PM 07-06-2008
I LOVE this book! Especially the month by month recipes. :
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