I just finished reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and have gotten so excited about growing some food that I just bought a sixth fruit tree for our new orchard (although my wife has suggested I calm down a bit since we don’t yet own a house that has a yard where we can plant these trees). Our orchard now includes: an avocado tree, an apple tree with three varieties grafted on to it, a blueberry bush, and lemon, lime and oranges trees in the citrus section. I suspect I’ll get at least a couple more soon — I’ll get a kiwi tree (do kiwis grown on trees?) if I can find one (they are apparently local since there were kiwis at the farmer’s market) and maybe an apricot or cherry tree too.
So the book was good and is definitely worth reading to help give you a good persceptive on our food culture and explain why eating locally, even a little, can be beneficial. There’s too much to summarize here, but I did want to point out one funny Calvin Coolidge related sexual anecdote (go read about it on Wikipedia) and one complaint I had (go read about it in the next paragraph).
The book talks about the horrible conditions of factory-farmed cows and chickens, but then ignores the fact that the condition of factory-farmed fish isn’t very pleasant (or healthy) either. The book also talks about raising heritage turkeys to help keep these breeds from going extinct, but then the author talks about how see misses wild-caught alaskan salmon and tuna without mentioning that fish populations are plummeting around the world. It’s interesting that she would have this blind spot, since one theme of the book is that being distant from the source of your food makes it difficult to understand what you are eating and how your food choices effect your health and the health of the environment. That certainly seems to be the case here — she may be living on a farm with turkeys and asparagus, but she’s still physically removed from where the fish live (I also think the fact that fish are anatomically more removed from us relative to most farm animals can help explain this blind spot and can explain why some people who say they are vegetarians eat fish but not chicken or beef).
Up next, a switch to fiction with Landscape Painted with Tea.