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Animal Vegetable Miracle: A Year in Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver

I have read many of Kingsolver’s novels, but this autobiographical journey opened my mind, made me laugh and I learned a few things, too. In this book, she takes us through a year in her family’s adventures as they leave behind urban life and move to a farm in southern Appalachia. They realign their lives with the vow to buy only food grown in their neighborhood, grown themselves, or learn to do without.

I listened to the audiobook, read by Kingsolver herself, and enjoyed every chapter as they learned how turkeys mate (very funny), how to raise chickens, and how to make cheese. Kingsolver stayed true to her family’s pledge to eat local and influenced me to start reading labels a little closer. Being in New Mexico, we have the benefit of being close to California and Mexico, which increases our options in terms of fresh fruit and vegetables. But I stopped buying berries in the winter noting that they came from Peru or Chile. I don’t want to eat food that has traveled that far, it’s not worth it and it’s not good for the earth. I was horrified to read that some frozen vegetables I bought were a product of Belgium. What? 

When Kingsolver got to her chapter about taking a cheese-making class so they could make their own, I thought, “No way! THIS is taking things a little far. Come on! Who makes their own cheese??” However, by the end of it, I was so intrigued I was seeking out classes near me. So far, no luck – but I am hopeful and still interested.


  1. I love that book! She changed much of my thinking around food, sourcing food, and making food. I started to make my own yogurt and even tried cheese!

    • Thanks Nelia! So many non-fiction books can be dry, but Barbara Kingsolver’s was more of a fun adventure. I think about this book a lot, years after reading it.


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