UFPPC (www.ufppc.org) Digging (Dig! Dig! Dig!

And your muscles will grow big” —John Raeburn [p. 250]) Deeper LXXX April 27, 2009, 7:00 p.m.

Barbara Kingsolver with Steven L. Hopp and Camille Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (New York: Harper Perennial, January 2008; original edition May 2007).
[Themes: While eating locally for a year is this book’s explicit “locavore” theme, the following sentences indicate many of its larger concerns: “In so many ways, disaster makes you take stock. For me it had inspired powerful cravings about living within our means. I wasn’t thinking so much of my household budget or the national one but the big budget, the one that involves consuming approximately the same things we produce” (234). “Food is not a product but a process, and it never sleeps” (270).] Ch. 1: Called Home. Leaving Arizona to take up full-time residence in North Carolina (1-7). Arrival at the farm (7-8). Our “drift away from our agricultural roots”; “We’re a nation with an eating disorder” (13; 18; 8-20). A movement is underway in the U.S. to restore a “genuine food culture” (20). The Kingsolver-Hopp family decides to take a year’s sabbatical from “industrial foods” and “the agribusiness supply line” (22; 21-22). Ch. 2: Waiting for Asparagus: Late March. When to begin (23-24). Asparagus (24-29). Americans no longer know how to wait for the quality experience (29-32). The rule: local produce only; each person is allowed one exception (32-36). Saturday morning at the farmer’s market (36-39). Ch. 3: Springing Forward. How our food lost its taste; in praise of vegetables (4362). Ch. 4: Stalking the Vegetannual. Imagining “a season of foods unfolding as if from one single plant. . . . We’ll call it a vegetannual”; the point being that any part of a plant can become a food (63-65). Americans are now used to eating out of season (65-69). Ch. 5: Molly Mooching: April. The Sanford Webb farm (70-72). Choosing crops; tobacco farming (73-77). Woodland plants (a Molly mooch is a morel) (77-80). Planting (80-82). Ch. 6: The Birds and the Bees. B.K.’s massive amounts of fan mail (86-87). Bees and chickens in the mail (87-88). Lily raises chickens; B.K. raises turkeys (88-99). Ch. 7: Gratitude: May. Southern manners forbid saying “thank you” for a plant (100-01). A birthday party (101-07). Ch. 8: Growing Trust: Mid-June. June as a period of calm in the farming cycle; thoughts on farming (111-18). Gardening in New England (118-21). B.K. favors localgrown over organic food (121-23). Ch. 9: Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast. Thoughts on time (125-30). “Cooking is the great divide between good eating and bad” (129). “[C]ooking is good citizenship” (130). The excitement of making food—in this case, cheese (13041). Ch. 10: Eating Neighborly: Late June. The Farmers Diner in central Vermont [Barre, VT] serves only food grown within an hour away (148-53). Ch. 11: Slow Food Nations: Late June. Québec; B.K. uses her French (154-58). David and Elsie’s Amish dairy farm in Ohio (159-69). Camille promotes organic food (170-72) . Ch. 12: Zucchini Larceny: July. Weeding (173-74). Early vegetable harvest (174-79). The chickens and turkeys (18085). Zucchini (185-89). Camille on summer cooking; cherry sorbet (190-95). Ch. 13: Life in a Red State: August. Keeping a gardening journal (196-97). Big

tomato harvest (198-202). Appalachia’s Harvest Collective, a packing house (20205). Uneasy rural-urban relations (205-10). Supermarkets imply obliviousness to the spirituality of food (210-11). Camille on tomato recipes (212-18). Ch. 14: You Can’t Run Away on Harvest Day: September. Harvest day (219-20; this is 2005: mention of Katrina, 234). Rejection of veganism; what B.K. really hates are CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations): “To believe we can live without taking life is delusional” (221; 220-37). Camille’s reflections on eating meat (238-41). Ch. 15: Where Fish Wear Crowns: September. A tourist in Italy, B.K. continues to think about her garden (24243). Hopp’s maternal grandparents were Italian; Italians love food (243-53). Agriturismo: guest accommodation of an Italian working family farm (253-58). Ch. 16: Smashing Pumpkins: October. Cooking pumpkins for a Thanksgiving celebrated a month early (259-64). Root crops, esp. potatoes and garlic (264-70). Autumn and ritual (270-71). Camille on potatoes (272-76). Ch. 17: Celebration Days: NovemberDecember. Lily’s “egg enterprise” (27780). American holiday food traditions (280-84). Boxing Day, Dia de los Muertos; hints her family is not Christian (284-91). Ch. 18: What Do You Eat in January? There’s not enough about farming in our newspapers and in our educational system (296-98). Freezing, baking, canning (298302). Food security and a widespread sense of impending disaster (303-05). Valuing the year’s work (305-08). In January, they’re eating “everything,” but planning for this in August was necessary (308-09). Camille on not eating bananas (310-13). Ch. 19: Hungry Month: FebruaryMarch. Aging friends (315-16). Turkey sex in a comic mode; incubating eggs

(316-31). Camille admits she was in college half of this year (332-33). Ch. 20: Time Begins. An invitation to read the book symbolically (334-35). Reflections on the year, during which eating locally became a movement (33543). “The cure” to our predicament “involves reaching down into ourselves and pulling out a new kind of person”; we don’t know how to do it, but not to attempt it would be “child abuse” (345; 344-46). Lily’s chicks hatch (347-52). Acknowledgments. “Everything we’ve said here, Wendell [Berry] said first, in a quiet voice that makes the mountains tremble” (353; but B.K. lists only one of Berry’s books). References. 3 pp. Only books. Organizations. 5 pp. Sidebar Resources. 7 pp. Related to Hopp’s contributions, which are not listed anywhere in the book, but are listed here: Agriculture accounts for 17% of oil (5). Industrial farming is inefficient (18-19). How to find a farmers’ market (37). Genetically modified foods, proprietary rights, and labeling (50-51). An argument that buying locally doesn’t hurt farmers in developing countries much (66-67). Small farms are more efficient; marketing is their problem (76). Conventional food is not cheaper when subsidies and externalities are calculated (117). Plea to consumers to speak up about local food (152). Chemicals are not the right approach to pests (164-65). Any yard can have a garden (180-81). Small diversified farms are not helped by the Federal Farm Bill (206-07). Mad cow disease (230-31). The local food movement internationally (250). Fair trade (262-63). Making bread with a bread machine (286-87). Fighting junk food and promoting healthy food locally through legislation (324-25). “Golden rice” debunked (338-39). How to figure out if food is local (348-49).

P.S. Insights, Interviews, & More.. About the Authors. Camille Kingsolver born 1987 in Tucson; student at Duke (2). Steven Hopp grew up in western Iowa and has a Ph.D. in animal behavior from Indiana Univ. (2-3). Barbara Kingsolver was raised in rural Kentucky. She has an undergraduate and master’s degrees in biology (DePauw; U. of Arizona). Her first novel, The Bean Trees, was published in 1987. She has produced seven more volumes of fiction, as well as several volumes of nonfiction. In 2000 she was awarded the National Humanities Medal (35). “The Blessings of Dirty Work,” Washington Post (Sept. 30, 2007). Reflections on the decline in agriculture’s prestige (6-11). Blurb for The Poisonwood Bible (12-13). Half-page blurbs for four other books (15-16). Blurbs for three more books (17). [Additional notes and remarks. Barbara Kingsolver was born on Apr. 8, 1955; her father was a physician; she spent some time in Africa as a child. — She attended college on a music scholarship (piano). — A website for the book exists at

www.animalvegetablemiracle.com and a professional indexer has made a subject index available there. Style involves interweaving “we,” “I,” and “you”; she is chatty yet remote; her style is formal but incorporates many colloquialisms and is studiedly unpretentious; she talks a lot about her feelings, but in a detached way (on p. 102, B.K. doesn’t tell us it’s her 50th birthday she’s talking about, though Camille says so on p. 108). — Characterization is rather odd; characters, including B.K., never really emerge at all; the family’s privacy is protected. — Her evasiveness may have to do with marketing her material in an American culture of that is hostile to many of her values (it is easy to find denunciations of her work as anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, ecofeminist, etc.), though she claims that “I've never spent 10 seconds thinking about success—20 years ago, or now.” — In this book, despite its highly political theme, she avoids politics almost entirely (though on p. 297 we read: “I am sick to death of war, corporate crime, and science writers who can’t understand the difference between correlation and causation”).]

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