“JudithAnn said: 4 stars
A book written by a mother, her daughter, and her husband. Barbara Kingsolver and her family move from California to a farm in Virginia and challenge themselves to eat only food produced on their own farm for a year.
The book tells us about their agricultural year, their reasons behind the challenge, the American agricultural business and how local produce would make life healthier, cheaper and the country a better place to live in.
The book is written in a friendly way, with very little (but some) condescension. There are some recipes and a lot of references to other books and articles propagating local food. It's inspiring too!
LibraryCin said: 4 stars
Barbara Kingsolver and her family (husband and two daughters (18 and 9), decide to move from Tucson, Arizona to Appalachia, Virginia to live on a farm, grow their own food and eat locally and organically for one year. Neither the area, nor farming, was new to Barbara and her husband; they already owned the farm and had spent summers there. Not only did they grow their own food, but Lily, their 9-year old daughter, loved chickens, so she planned to raise some for eggs and meat, herself. They also raised turkeys.
I really liked it. It was interesting to see how Barbara and her family lived the year – working in the garden, the cooking, the preparation (lots and lots of canning) for winter. There were also interesting sidenotes written by Barbara’s husband, and most chapters ended with an article (recipes, and meal plans) by Camille, the 18-year old, who left for college part way through the year.
Kentucky Reader said: 5 stars and a heart
Kingsolver shares writing duties with her husband and then 17-year-old daughter in this report of the family's first year on their Virginia farm. Before moving to the farm from Arizona, they had already planned a year-long experiment of dining almost entirely on local food, including what they could produce themselves. The reader is given a front row seat to the entire process, from the arrival of seed catalogs to the arrival of baby chicks, and from harvesting vegetables to harvesting turkeys.
The three authors also each provide convincing data in support of their philosophy of sustainability, ranging from respect for the planet to the knowledge of unappetizing and dangerous practices in corporate agriculture.
The reader is also given a glimpse of extended family and friends and neighbors as they gather for celebrations, including Kingsolver's 50th birthday, and holidays. They also come to share the work, including preserving food and processing poultry. Whatever the event, there was always a cornucopia of food, from fresh vegetables to local lamb and local wines. Recipes are included.
There are times when the book gets a little bogged down in details and preachiness, but that's a minor quibble in a book this good overall.
I can't end this review without mentioning Kingsolver's youngest daughter, who goes from age eight to nine in the time span of the book. As she plans and operates her own egg business, she is so adorable that she's a scene stealer. I'd read a book by her.
Ladyslott said: 3 stars
Barbara Kingsolver’s book details the year her family made the decision to move to their farm in Appalachia and live there full time, growing as much of their own food as possible and eating only locally grown or reared food items.
Filled with lots of information on the many ways big corporations have changed the way we consume foods this book was eye opening in many instances and filled with a lot of interesting information on the positives of eating local and or organic foods. I do try to eat organic produce, mostly because of the herbicide issue, but this book made me aware of many other valid reasons for making this choice.
So the question is why only a 3 star rating?
Well Ms. Kingsolver can sound awful preachy sometimes. There is almost smugness to her tone in describing her life choices. While I think growing your own food sounds pretty interesting, I doubt most of us have a farm waiting for us to move to, or that many of us can afford to just pull up roots, since we often have homes and jobs and don’t write books for a living. Also as much as buying locally sounds good, especially in a farming community, there are not always that many choices available. I know of one farmer’s market in my area and it is only open from late spring through fall. I also don’t can my own goods, bake my own breads, dig, plant, hoe, weed or reap my crops. I don’t have a greenhouse or root cellar, don’t raise chickens and turkeys. So while the overall concept may be interesting for many people it is often impractical. Also there is never much mention of just how back breaking farm work can be. I also find the waxing rhapsodic over the tobacco farmers of Virginia and the loss of their most profitable crops a little contradictory. It seemed a bit incongruous within the theme of most of the book. So although I did learn quite a bit and I do plan to try and eat more locally produced food I think I could have come to this decision without being made to feel that most of my lifestyle is somehow invalid.
CoulsonSquared said: 4 stars
Barbara along with her husband and two daughters attempt to eat only food grown themselves or found within their local area for an entire year. This book is a delightful account of the challenges they faced and the rewards they experienced through their hard work and persistence. Included in the book are recipes using seasonal ingredients, essays, and information pertaining to the source of our food and how our present conventional methods work.
I thoroughly enjoyed this read. Kingsolver has a whimsical way of writing that I really enjoyed. My only beef with this book is that the author makes it clear she is not a fan of Christianity. Perfectly clear. And while she doesn’t come out and state her political preference, I can pretty much guarantee I wouldn’t agree with her there either.
However, spiritual and political preferences aside, I enjoyed the humor in her writing. I loved the monthly format and thought this was overall a wonderful read.”