Tag Archives: Barbara Kingsolver

Review, Book Tour & Giveaway: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Animal Vegetable Miracle Book Cover

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life
By Barbara Kingsolver
April 2008

The Short of It:

This is a life-changing book for anyone who has ever stopped to think about where food comes from. Not preachy, just wonderful.

The Rest of It:

Barbara Kingsolver is known for the many books she’s written. Many of which, I have grown to love. What I didn’t know is that she is an advocate for buying local. Local produce, local meats, dairy, etc. There is a huge advantage to the planet when a purchase is made locally. When you think of fuel costs and what it costs to transport food half-way across the country, it just makes more sense to buy things locally.

In Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Kingsolver and her family move from Tucson to their farm in the southern Appalachians for a year of growing their own food, raising their own livestock and testing out their ability to survive on what’s available to them locally. What struck me with this book is that it is truly a book of discovery. No lectures. No pointing fingers telling you what you must do, etc. It’s just a beautifully written “year in the life” memoir that happens to be about my favorite thing, food.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that this book is life-changing. It is. It really makes you question where your food comes from. As a nation, we are used to walking into a grocery store and having everything available to us at all times. Take watermelon for example. It’s available to us year-round but just because it’s available, doesn’t mean it’s good.

Think about where that melon came from for it to be available in the off-season. Then think about how much it costs to transport that fruit. If you’re so inclined, go one step further and think about taste. How fresh could it be if it was driven half-way across the country for it to end up in our shopping cart?

In addition to buying wisely, Kingsolver also touches on sustaining your family on what you can grow or raise at home. This isn’t a “how-to” book by any means but it’s gotten my wheels turning and it’s made me look at gardening in a different way. Even someone without a lot of property can grow some herbs or tomatoes to add to salads and other home cooked meals. The gesture need not be big. It could be as simple as buying produce at your local farmer’s market.

I know with my time constraints I will never have the vegetable garden that I’ve always dreamed of, but I have the land so this spring I am going to grow something. Not sure what quite yet but something good. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle has inspired me to at least try. If you’ve ever been interested in the food chain, I encourage you to read this book.

Barbara Kingsolver

To visit Barbara Kingsolver’s website, click here.

To visit the Animal, Vegetable, Miracle website, click here. The site includes recipes from the book!

To view Kingsolver’s other TLC tour stops, click here.

Source: A big ‘thank you’ to TLC Book Tours for asking me to be a part of this tour and to the publisher for providing me with a review copy of the book and a second copy to giveaway.


I am so excited to be giving away a copy of this book. If I could afford it, I’d give a copy to everyone I know. For a chance to win, read the details below and simply leave a comment under this post.

1. Open to the U.S. and Canada.

2. Make sure I have a way to contact you.

3. Giveaway is open until Sunday, 10/17/2010 (Pacific).

4. A winner will be announced on Monday, 10/18/2010.

Good luck!

What Do YOUR Tomatoes Look Like This Year?

When we moved into this house in 2007, it came with a huge yard and included a space for a vegetable garden. My son took an immediate liking to this since he has always wanted to plant his own vegetables. I don’t why, as he does not eat any vegetables. Anyway.. that first year we had a lot of yummy tomatoes.

This year, my son planted Sweet 100’s. Now, I don’t know much about gardening so when he dug and planted four of these plants, I figured we would have a steady stream of tomatoes to take us through the year after freezing and canning (like I’ve ever done this).

Let me just say that the first year, he maintained the garden. The second year…not so much. It’s on the side of the house and I rarely go out there and it cannot be seen from inside the house so when my husband told me that he wanted to pull all the plants out I was appalled! What?!? So I wandered out there. Oh my goodness. The four plants that my son planted turned into a wild, untamed jungle of sorts. I spent the next two days picking tomatoes, trimming them back, and lecturing my son about the whole incident. They taste pretty good though.

So I found it highly amusing that I came across this review of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver this morning. Kingsolver and her family make a decision to eat home-grown or locally grown food for one year and this book chronicles their efforts. I find the idea fascinating but extremely time consuming. I just don’t have the time to cultivate food for my family to eat. Even with the tomatoes, the aphids were completely out of control and I would not want to use pesticides and I know the alternative methods require a consistent hand.

Has anyone read this book? Were you inspired by it? We have the space to do something and with the cost of produce it does sound appealing. Do any of you have vegetable gardens?