When author Barbara Kingsolver still lived in Arizona and I still was criss-crossing the country for my speaking engagements, I used to fanticize that I would find myself sitting next to her on an airplane on what was hopefully a long cross country flight. (and that was even before she had written Animal, Vegetable, Miracle) Regrettably (for me), now that she is settled on her farm in Virginia and I am not traveling nearly so much, I doubt that will happen.
However, as a substitute, here is the next best thing.
Barbara Kingsolver, the lead author of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle along with her older daughter and husband, will be the guest on the nationally broadcast radio show Speaking of Faith, this coming Sunday 7/22 as she talks about her new best-selling book and the ethics of eating. The interview is also be available as a podcast from www.speakingoffaith.publicradio.org
I don't know if Barbara had looked ahead to try to plan her family's project of eating only their home-grown or locally produced food for one year, their writing, and the publication of their book with the timing for the re-writing of our country's 2007 Farm Bill. However, the timing, planned or coincidental, is fortuitous. I am truly hopeful that her book and her voice will help swell the increased awareness of the gross mismatch between what the Farm Bill currently funds and what it should be funding in order to optimize the health of our citizens (and dramatically decrease our health care costs). I am hopeful that Congress will both see the wisdom and have the courage to tip the scales so that funds (i.e., our tax dollars) will be significantly shifted to (1) the programs that subsidize growers who produce healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, and (2) to funds and programs that promote good nutrition (i.e., the same foods that our USDA Dietary Guidelines recommend - DUH!) and help make these healthy foods more accessible and affordable to all people, but particularly to children, the poor, the elderly, and other vulnerable citizens of our country.
It's time for a change, and I thank Barbara Kingsolver for speaking up to help us realize that we can all vote with our forks to help to drive this urgently needed and overdue change in how our food is grown and thus how we eat.
My family still writes letters to Santa each year giving hints about what would be appreciated as a gift for Christmas. One of my sons began a tradition a few years ago of asking for a "book that will make me think". Barbara's new book is already in the running for what Santa may deliver this year.
Thanks, Barbara. Maybe I still harbor a tiny hope that I'll still get to meet you someday, however, maybe in a garden or at a Farmers' Market now instead of an airplane. :-)
Diana Dyer, MS, RD