Sunday, February 21, 2010



The Local Seasonal Sustainable Tribal Food Project

Your comments on my Facebook post “Could you eat locally for one year?” indicate that there may be genuine interest in this question among our sprawling, unruly tribe of Facebook friends. I have in mind a project lasting about 3 months so that a rowdy group of us can play with this idea.

Barbara Kingsolver, the noted writer, and her family attempted to live out the challenge posed by our question. Packing up the car and leaving their home in the Southwest, Kingsolver, her partner and their two daughters moved to a run-down farm in Virginia. For one year the family lived only on food that could be grown or raised within a hundred miles. (Yes, each family member was allowed to choose one favorite food that could be imported from a further distance!) The month-to-month failures and successes of the family experiment were recorded in her delightful book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.

The book is divided into Monthly chapters and includes technical commentary by Kingsolver’s partner, Steve Hopp, and recipes by her elder daughter, Camille. (One evening a couple of years ago I prepared dinner for CJ and her book club using only Camille’s recipes and locally grown organic food. Did I score serious hubby-points or what?)

Here’s the “game” I propose:

Get your hands on the book by March 1st, 2010. You can get a used copy for about $4.

We’ll read a chapter a week.

Each week a different one of us (I’ll set up a calendar) will write the main prompt and send it to me. I’ll publish this weekly prompt in my blog and tag everybody so the prompt doesn’t get lost in the Facebook daily deluge. The prompt can be a question, opinion, whatever you want.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle was one of the most personal books I read in the past five years. It’s light, breezy reading. Overwhelming issues such as sustainability, organic farming, vegetarianism, and making cheese (not cutting it!) are brought down to the intimate, often hilarious, level of a family struggling to find yet another way to cook squash. The Kingsolver year of local survival was tough and demanding and courageous and delicious.

I suspect that many of you have already read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (as I have). It feels good to me to go back for a closer look. If you haven’t read it, you are in for a treat. Kingsolver writes with intelligence and humanity.

So, do you wanna play? Let me know in your comment to this Note or in a private message if you prefer.

You in?


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