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Back to Basics: Kingsolver Clan Lives off Land

Apr 29, 2007 (Weekend Edition Sunday)

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In her newest book, Barbara Kingsolver departs from the route taken in popular works of fiction like The Poisonwood Bible and The Bean Trees, to tell the true story of going back to her roots in Appalachia.

In Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, Kingsolver and her family conduct an experiment in what she calls learning to "eat deliberately." That means eating only seasonal local foods, or food they've grown themselves.

The family leaves their home in Tucson, Ariz., and heads to Kingsolver's family farm in Virginia to live off the land. The clan grows a large garden and spends the summer storing food, jarring tomatoes, braiding garlic and stuffing turkey sausage.

Along the way, the family discovers the pleasures of eating naturally raised meat.

Kingsolver's family did more than live the story; they also contributed to the book. Her husband, Steven Hopp, writes about industrial agriculture and ecology, and her daughter, Camille, adds flavorful recipes.

Lynn Neary speaks with Kingsolver and Hopp about their experiences.

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