The long overdue discussion questions for the Animal, Vegetable, Miracle book club are finally here!
For those of you not aware of what this is all about, this blog hosts an online book club where we all read the same book (this current one was picked by the readers) and I post discussion questions for each chapter. I got a little behind and missed last month's posting, but hopefully we are back on track! I try to post on the first Tuesday of the month. So, to help you with your reading assignments, the next post after today's will be November 6th and will cover chapters 7 - 9.
Now onto the discussion questions:
Chapter 4 introduces the idea of the "vegetannual", basically bringing to light the concept (for most vegetation, but not all) that a plant is predestined to begin its life in the spring and die in the fall. The underlying idea is that most modern consumers have become so distant and unaware of the growing cycle as to expect tomatoes in the winter, watermelons in spring and pretty much any type of produce year-round. The exceptions include things that we tend to prefer seasonally, like pumpkins in the fall and yams around Thanksgiving.
Do you try to eat seasonally, or do you just buy whatever looks good in the store regardless of whether it's in season locally or had to be shipped in from another hemisphere? Will you pay more attention to it after reading this chapter?
Chapter 5. The author's family comes from a region of tobacco farmers and I found it interesting that when the idea of eliminating tobacco given it's inherent health risks came up at a party, she blurted out, "what about the tobacco farmers"? The idea never really came to my mind when thinking about cigarettes and the cash crop and industry behind it. You usually think of only the big tobacco giants, but not the farmers that actually grow the crops. The same thing goes for the produce you find in the stores.
Does it ever cross your mind what it actually takes to bring one apple to market? Are the time, work and resources properly represented by the cost? Since we all are, for the most part, completely at the mercy of farmers for our food supply, shouldn't we pay more attention to how our food is grown and how our farmers are compensated?
Chapter 6 discusses how the author's daughter wants to get chickens to raise for eggs as well as meat. I remember reading somewhere that at the turn of the 20th Century many people, even those living in cities (even NYC), had backyard chickens.
Do you own chickens? If not, would you be willing to if it were either more socially acceptable, or legal to raise chickens?
As usual, feel free to add your own questions or comments regarding these chapters since I only touched on a few points.