Or ‘read this,’ rather.

I recently finished reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, which tells the true story of how she and her family committed to eating locally for one year, with few exceptions.  Most of their food came from their small farm garden and chicken coop, with the rest sourced locally. They went a year without bananas and even sourced their flour for bread-baking.

The book is peppered with informative pieces (written by Kingsolver’s orinthologist husband, Steven L. Hopp) in each chapter as well, such as the history of heritage turkeys or the mission of Heifer International.  Additionally, each chapter includes a narrative and recipes by Kingsolver’s daughter, Camille, who left for college that same year.

While I do not aspire to Kingsolver’s ‘Year of Food Life,’ (if I can’t even imagine it, I shudder to think of my husband’s response) the book DID inspire me to rely more heavily on our local farmer’s market.  And to grow a little of my own food in the backyard–something I’ve been putting off since moving into the house two summers ago.  And, of course, to shop at the CO-OP once it’s open.

The truth is, local food is better in so many ways.  It’s likely much fresher, which increases its nutritional value and flavor.  Purchasing from local farmers keeps dollars in the community, which is also what shopping at the co-op will do, too.  As more and more of us demand fresher, better, LOCAL FOOD, grocery stores will have to respond.  And shouldn’t we be eating the tomatoes from the farm down the road, as opposed to the ones grown across the country?  Shouldn’t we look first at the food nearest to us–produced by the land and hands HERE–to sustain us?

If you’re looking for a book to get you looking forward to summer (as if you weren’t already), look no further than Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.  Kingsolver’s stories of much-awaited asparagus, finding wild morels on their farm and raising (and mating!) turkeys will have you smiling from ear to ear while anticipating summer’s bounty.

For more information and to view the recipes in the book, please go to: http://www.animalvegetablemiracle.com/


Holly R. Layer

Holly R. Layer

Holly is a registered dietician and a freelance writer. She works as a clinical dietitian at DeGraff Memorial Hospital in North Tonawanda, teaches fitness classes at the Southtowns Family Branch YMCA and shares her love of food through her blog www.thefrozenpineapple.com (new website coming soon), as well as Buffalo News (Refresh), and the East Aurora Co-op Market (the "Eat This" blog series you see here). She lives in East Aurora with her husband Andrew, an East Aurora native and East Aurora Co-op Market board member.