Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle Book Cover


Tenth Anniversary Edition
Barbara Kingsolver with Steven L. Hopp,
Camille Kingsolver, and Lily Hopp Kingsolver

When published in 2007, ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MIRACLE was embraced by readers worldwide and quickly earned its place as a credo for the locavore movement. The family's chronicle of struggles and triumphs as they rooted themselves to their Appalachian farm and adopted a locally-produced diet was met with critical acclaim, spent years on bestseller lists and won the James Beard Award. The Chicago Tribune named it “an important contribution to the chorus of voices calling for change.” Washington Post Book World called it, “Charming, zestful, funny and poetic…a serious book about important problems.”

Now, in a beautiful deluxe trade paperback edition celebrating the 10th anniversary of this beloved work (Harper Perennial, $16.99), Kingsolver, husband Steven Hopp and their daughters Camille and Lily contribute new chapters taking stock of the last decade and how their decision to align their lives with the local food chain has continued to shape their destinies.

“Ten years ago, we wrote this book about our decision to get serious with eating local, more or less forsaking all others,” Barbara writes. “It was such a novel idea that we had to make up our own language for it, although the word ‘locavore’ germinated so naturally from the lexicon that it was invented simultaneously by many people at around the same time. Now it’s in the dictionary and on menus all over the place. What we’d thought of as our eccentric family notion broke out into something of a scene. I don’t mean that we created a scene—not at all—but that we happened to publish our family’s story at a moment when lots of families were ready to examine and take more control of their own food stories.”

In the intervening years, Steven has added restaurant director to a résumé that already included professor and farmer, with a farm-to-table restaurant helping to revitalize their rural community. Camille attended college, became a mental health counselor, and with her husband Reid and son Owen now lives just minutes away from the family farm. Lily, whose egg-gathering business at age ten kept readers entertained, believes her land-based upbringing profoundly shaped her interests as an aspiring environmental scientist. Each family member explores this ten-year journey in a new final section of the book.

ANIMAL VEGETABLE MIRACLE has only become more relevant since its publication, increasing our awareness of how the agricultural establishment can affect our health and environment for the worse, or for the better. And how a world of choice is in our hands.

"Our highest shopping goal was to get our food from so close to home, we'd know the person who grew it. Often that turned out to be ourselves as we learned to produce what we needed, starting with dirt, seeds, and enough knowledge to muddle through. Or starting with baby animals, and enough sense to refrain from naming them."

—Barbara Kingsolver