The Ethics of Eating

Barbara Kingsolver discussing her new book—Animal, Vegetable, Miracle—with Krista Tippett on Speaking of Faith:

Ms. Tippett: Now I'm looking at the sweep of your writing over, say, the last 10 years. It seems to me that that September 11th also kind of formed the sense of urgency that you have now. You talked then about the prideful wastefulness, our prideful wastefulness as a nation. I think you just described that in more detail.

Ms. Kingsolver: Sometimes I think it's prideful. Sometimes I think it's just clueless. I mean that to describe myself as much as anyone. We don't have a clue sometimes about how or what we are wasting. It's so easy for us to have, for example, foods that were grown on the other side of the world and brought to us, without any idea who grew it, who worked for what low wage to harvest it, who had to breathe pesticides in order to put it on a truck. You know, those questions have — a curtain has been drawn over the whole process so that we've come to look at our food as a product. It isn't. It's, it's all…

Ms. Tippett: Those are moral questions.
Ms. Kingsolver: It's all a process and those are moral questions. If we care to draw back the curtain and look, it isn't all bad news. I think the subject of food seems daunting because there are so many different questions, so many different problems. And that's something that really compelled me about writing this book. I love to start with a huge unanswerable boggling kind of question and see if I can whittle it down into the shape of a really good yarn. You know, I just love to see if I can give it a plot and make you laugh all along the way and maybe make you cry at the end, and create something that will invite you in. And then when you're finished and you close the book, maybe you'll step out into the world in a slightly different way and ask your own questions and answer the questions in your own way.
And this from Small Wonder, her collection of essays written in the wake of September 11th:

"Something new is upon us and yet nothing is ever new. We are alive in a fearsome time, and we have been given new things to fear. We've been delivered huge blows but also huge opportunities to reinforce or reinvent our will, depending on where we look for honor and how we name our enemies. The easiest thing is to think of returning the blows. But there are other things we must think about as well, other dangers we face. A careless way of sauntering across the earth and breaking open its treasures, a terrible dependency on sucking out the world's best juices for ourselves — these may also be our enemies. The changes we dread most may contain our salvation."