Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Sam Means and Michael Fleischhauer both wrote on ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MIRACLE Chapter 5, “The Molly Moochers.” Don’t worry, we’ll get to Mike’s elegant Chapter 5 post (with cool photos!) in a couple of days. But what about sad, neglected Chapter 4, and even Chapter 3, rather glossed over in our thread? What about those worthy Kingsolverian efforts? Well, the old professor just can’t let two significant chapters slide by without appropriate attention. Hence, with Chapter 3 as our first subject, fellow tribe members, get ready for a little . . .

Pop Quiz

1. T.S. Eliot wrote that “April is the cruelest month.” What point is Kingsolver trying to make by opening Chapter 3 with this quote?

2. If you want reliable, year-in-year-out, plant ‘em once and forget about ‘em, early spring “Surprises” leaping forth from the earth to delight you, what could you plant?

3. What are the benefits of planting heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables?

4. Why are hybrid seeds more profitable than heirloom seeds?

5. What is a terminator gene? (lots of pun and wise crack possibilities with this one, huh?)

6. What are the four major “breeding” goals of industrially-created supermarket vegetables and fruits?

7. T or F Modern U.S, consumers get to taste less than 1% of the vegetable varieties that were grown here a century ago.

8. T or F In Peru, the original home of potatoes, Andean farmers once grew some four thousand varieties of potatoes.

9. T or F Now, even in the areas of Peru least affected by the modern market, only a few dozen varieties of potatoes are grown.

10. T or F Three quarters of all human food now comes from just eight species, with the field quickly narrowing down to genetically modified corn, soy, and canola.

11. T or F In 1981 about 5,000 varieties of vegetables were available in seed catalogues. In 1998, the number was down to 600.

12. Six companies—Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont, Mitsui, Aventis, and Dow—now control 98% of the world’s ________________________. (fill in the blank)

13. Why did Monsanto sue (and win!) Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser?

14. The most common genetic modifications in U.S. corn, soy, cotton, and canola do one of two things. What are they?

15. Monsanto allocates $10 million dollars a year to hunt down and prosecute what kind of notorious North American criminal?

16. Our national food addiction to two crops have made us the fattest people who have ever lived. What are those two crops?

17. T or F The diversity of food crops is again on the rise in the United States.

18. What is the goal of Slow Food International?

19. Why are multivitamins and food supplements not a long term substitute for eating a variety of fresh foods?

20. Which of Camille Kingsolver’s recipes, Eggs in a Nest or Spinach Lasagna, are you going to cook first this Spring? You must, of course, render a full report to the tribe.


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