Monday, December 20, 2010

Farm City - Novella Carpenter

Over the past couple years, there has been an obsession in the Bay Area (and perhaps all over the country) with locally grown food, farmer's market, and eating responsbily. Michael Pollen and Barbara Kingsolver have definitely contributed to this movement and encouraged a lot of people to think differently about where their food comes from. As part of this, I feel like not only do I know a lot of people who only buy organic and local, but I also know more people who have taken to growing and raising their own produce and poultry. I attribute some of this also to people wanting to feel more connected to work - and feeling like what they do has tangible consequences - something that doesn't exist for many people these days (as opposed to in the days of farmers). Farm City is the non-fiction account of a woman in Oakland who has taken to heart the desire to be closer to her food - not only does she start her own vegetable garden in the heart of Oakland's toughest neighborhood, but she raises turkeys for Thanksgiving, and a pig that brings her into contact with one of Oakland's most famous chefs - and her future teacher of how to make her own salumi. Carpenter's experimenting is interesting to me - mostly because I live in Oakland, and cannot imagine attempting to create such a rural environment in such an urban setting. She didn't make me want to go out and buy my own chicks to raise, or to commit to growing my dinner - mostly because everything she did seemed so hard! But, she did engender an appreciation in me for the work that farmers and ranchers are engaged in - and it's always good to remember to be a bit more mindful of what we put in our bodies, and what we often sacrifice in the name of convenience.

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