Emory Report
September 4, 2007
Volume 60, Number 2

Barbara Kingsolver and husband, Steven Hopp, will speak at Glenn Auditorium about their new book, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle," on Thursday,
Sept. 20 at 7:30 p.m., followed by a booksigning at the Carlos Museum.
The talk is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Tickets are avail-able at Dobbs University Center and the Schwartz Center Box Office. For more nformation, visit
Science and Society.

Emory Report homepage  

September 4, 2007
Barbara Kingsolver to dish on ethics and culture of eating locally

By Carol Clark

Who hasn’t been tempted by plump, Chilean blueberries on a cold winter’s day?

Perhaps the best news from Barbara Kingsolver’s new book, “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle,” is that moving away from such imports and toward local, seasonal foods not only helps the environment, it can actually enrich your palate and the culture of your family and community. The non-fiction book, which Kingsolver co-wrote with her husband, Steven Hopp, and daughter, Camille, chronicles the year they spent on a Southern Appalachian farm, eating only what they could grow themselves or buy from nearby farms.

“Our family set out to find ourselves a real American culture of food, or at least the piece of it that worked for us, and to describe it for anyone who might be looking for something similar,” Kingsolver wrote.

She agreed to make a presentation at Emory after learning about the University’s goal for 75 percent of the food served on campus to come from local and/or sustainably-grown sources by 2015.

Best known for novels such as “The Poisonwood Bible” and “The Bean Trees,” Kingsolver is also a poet,
essayist and short-story writer. In 2000, she received the National Humanities Medal, the nation’s highest honor for service through the arts.

“She’s a compelling speaker and I think people of all ages, whether they like to cook or not, are going to really enjoy the talk,” said Peggy Barlett, professor of anthropology, who heads up Emory’s Sustainable Foods Initiative for the Office of Sustainability.

A committee working on the initiative is currently developing food-buying guidelines for campus facilities, addressing issues such as labor, fair trade and humane treatment of animals. During the next few months, students will be recruited to join a campus sustainability summit on food, to help refine the priorities in the guidelines and make recommendations to Emory food services.

Kingsolver’s visit to campus “is an opportunity for us to celebrate Emory’s sustainability efforts and also the Atlanta local-food scene,” Barlett said. “Atlanta has chefs who focus on foods produced by local farmers, and wonderful nonprofits like Slow Food Atlanta, Georgia Organics and Heifer International, which is helping immigrants become farmers here in Georgia. Farmers markets are thriving in various neighborhoods and there are more than 50 community gardens in the city. We want the folks who come to the talk to understand the fact that Atlanta is a lively place for the local-food movement.”