“Each food item in a typical U.S. meal has traveled an average of 1,500 miles,” writes Steven L. Hopp, Barbara Kingsolver’s husband, in the first of a series of sidebars sprinkled throughout her book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, the account of their family’s attempts to eat locally. “If every U.S. citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country’s oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week.”
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is the bestselling story of what happened when the Kingsolver-Hopp family moved to southern Appalachia to begin farming and liberate themselves from industrial food by eating only what they grew themselves or what was grown by others within 10 miles of their home.
It is also the choice for this year’s One Book, One Island community read. The premise of the book may sound crunchy, but the Boston Globe noted that “Kingsolver is no pious soapboxer, but instead explores these ideas with enthusiasm and the awe of discovery.” The One Book, One Island events allow Vineyarders to share that enthusiasm with each other.
The first event is Wednesday, April 27, at 11 a.m. at the Oak Bluffs Public Library, where discussion will be led by Dawn Braasch, owner of the Bunch of Grapes. A local lunch will follow at 12:30 p.m.
Then, on Thursday, April 28 at the Oak Bluffs library at 6:30 p.m. there will be a panel discussion, Local and Sustainable, with representatives from the Farm Institute, Morning Glory Farm, Island Grown Initiative, Whippoorwill Farm CSA, Native Earth Teaching Farm and Edible Vineyard Magazine, moderated by Nis Kildegaard.
On Thursday, May 5, is another book discussion at 5 p.m. at the Chilmark library, while on Saturday, May 7 at 4 p.m. at West Tisbury Public Library is a book discussion and signing of the Book of Duck Cookery, with Rebecca Randall Gilbert of Native Earth Teaching Farm.
Finally on Thursday, May 19, the documentary film, Farming the Future: Farm Life on Long Island will screen at 6:30 p.m. at the Oak Bluffs Library.
These programs are all free, funded in part with a grant to the Oak Bluffs Public Library from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.