Kingsolver’s Immediate Impact
As a consumer food public relations and marketing professional, my job relies on finding, building and communicating stories for my client’s food brands. Storytelling is a magical and romantic way to connect with a listener and, if done right, compels the listener to take action on a delivered message.
For the purpose of this blog, I am taking on the role as a listener and Barbara Kingsolver is my storyteller. Kingsolver has penned a book that is shaping the way we think about how we consume food and where it comes from. In Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, she takes the reader on her family’s year long journey to eat as closely to home as possible by living off their land and neighboring farmers land.
As an urbanite living off my land (e.g. the herb boxes along my condo patio railing) is not a possibility but I find as the localvore movement has grown I have many more options to consume food items grown and raised more closely to my home. Farmers markets, local boutique grocery shops and community supported agriculture (CSA) programs have allowed me to access local bounty to please my weekly cooking needs. My hope is to learn a bit more about the impact of eating local and also pick-up a few new ideas for cooking with seasonal ingredients.
As I have begun reading there are quite a few alarming statistics that have jumped off the page. Industrial-scale agriculture has not only dictated what we eat in the US but is also taking over nations that would normally seem untouched by outside influence. Here are a few items Kingsolver brings to our attention that really irked me:
* Modern U.S. Consumers consume less than 1 percent of vegetable varieties that were grown in the US a century ago
* In Peru, famers once grew more than 4,000 varieties of potatoes but now due to the industrial agriculture influence they grow fewer than a couple dozen varieties
* In our history we have eaten over 80,000 plant species. Today, we as humans consume only eight species (largely due to changes in precipitation and rise of genetically modified corn, soy and canola)
I love food. I love new flavors, building dishes and discovering new ingredients to deliver something tasty. As I become more skilled in the kitchen, I hunger for more variety. How can I go about feeding my passion and my belly if thousands of varieties and species of plants are becoming extinct?! My concrete patio is not going to come to the rescue any time soon but through weekly trips to my local farmers market and weekly CSA packages I hope to play with and promote new plants that may help push others to wake-up to what we are all missing.
As I read through this book, I will continue to blog on how it’s impacted my life and how I find balance with what I know and what I’m learning. How do you plan to explore undiscovered plant and animal varieties to save our taste buds and our diet?