Thursday, August 16, 2007

Plenty


My husband says that I read the same book over and over. I know he's right, though I don't really like to admit it. I recently finished Plenty: One Man, One Woman and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally by Alisa Smith and J.B. Mackinnon. The premise of this book is very similar to Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle but the approach was a bit different.

The couple who wrote Plenty live in Vancouver and are not trying to grow their own food (though they do have a small garden in the community plot) but figure out how to source their food within 100 miles of their home. Their project did not appear to involve years of planning and it seemed they figured things out as they went along. There were humorous moments when they seemed to be eating not much more than potatoes. I think the fact that this couple does not have children probably contributed to their occasional laziness at coming up with a varied diet. I enjoyed reading about their many visits to locals farms and their quests to try to satisfy their cravings, particularly for flour. The authors do a good job of balancing the scientific information with their personal story, even delving into their relationship with one another, to make this fast-paced story both educational and entertaining.

I found this book to be an important one on this subject because it shows that even if you live in an urban area and don't have a lot of land to farm, it is possible to eat locally at least part of the time. It seems this couple was blogging or at least writing about their experience while they were living it and became somewhat well-known. They do maintain a website which includes testimonials from others who have tried to live on the 100 Mile Diet.

9 comments:

Kay said...

I've got some friends who are trying to do this, Tara. Not sure how successful they are at this moment but I think I could do it if we still lived in the Pacific Northwest. What a bounty of produce there. I was amazed. Texas is different. Still bounty. Just different things.

Danielle said...

What a cool idea. It makes you wonder exactly where most of your food comes from and how far away!! I am like you in reading--I sometimes feel like I read the same book over and over, too!

Tara said...

Kay, I agree that it would be easier in the Pacific Northwest, not so easy here, in my opinion. My perception of Texas is that there would be a long growing season- but is it too hot for some things?

Danielle, it seems like I keep reading the 'local food' book, the historical fiction - bad girl - sort of book, and the family saga -- over and over!

heather said...

Interesting. I do need to keep trying to find farmers' markets around Annapolis; so far I've only been able to find stands selling flowers, not produce. I miss New Hampshire, where we could easily come home from the local farm with paper bags full of veggies and fruit. Kingsolver's book is on my wishlist and this looks like a fun one too.

Tara said...

Hi Heather, thanks for stopping by. There are websites that list farmers market locations - try localharvest.org for one near you. I am fortunate that I do have a great market, unfortunate that the growing season here is so short. Kingsolver's book is terrific, I hope you enjoy it.

heather said...

Thanks for the website! I'm a little worried that all of the entries for my area say they haven't been updated since 2000, but I'll definitely check out the locations; after all, farmers markets do tend to stick around!

Gentle Reader said...

I loved the Barbara Kingsolver book, so thanks for pointing this one out to me--I'm going to put it on my list!

heather said...

WOOHOO! Finally found a farmer's market nearby this weekend. :) Got there late, so there wasn't much left, but managed to snarf a pint of grape tomatoes, a bunch of summer squash, some damson plum jam, and a jar of amazing habanero jelly.

Tara said...

Heather, I am so glad you found a farmer's market! And I am very jealous of your delicious sounding jelly and jam.

Gentle reader, I'm glad you've found this book interesting! It is a very quick read.