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Sunday, January 15, 2006

Book Review: Veggie Revolution

Smart Choices for a Healthy Body and a Healthy Planet

Vegetarians often will tell you that they have chosen a vegetarian diet for health reasons, or over concerns for animal welfare, that the decision was personal or influenced by a loved one, or they may tell you their vegetarian lifestyle is a by-product of their faith. People make decisions about their lives often unilaterally but never in a vacuum because what each of us chooses ultimately impacts society and the world as a whole.

Veggie Revolution, Fulcrum Publishing, by authors Sally Kneidel, Ph.D., and Sara Kate Kneidel, activist, vegetarian cook is a new book about a very old subject, one ignored by most other books on the subject: the connection between vegetarianism, social activism and the environment. Like Pierre-François Bouchard’s Rosetta Stone, which revealed to scholars the connection between two ancient languages, Veggie Revolution illustrates, in one volume, the two languages of vegetarianism and socio-economics revealing at once their interconnected meaning; that to preserve the natural environment man and animal have to return to the principles of good animal husbandry and sensible farming practices.

The authors visit factory farms and small family operated organic farms to witness for themselves the evolution of today’s giant corporate farming machines. The comparison is a stunning revelation about modern farming technology, corporate indifference to anything but profit and the revolution of organic farming.

Veggie Revolution is also a cookbook, or perhaps that should be 'book that cooks.' The lessons revealed about the nature of man and his food to the natural order of things are practical nourishment for the soul. There is more here to digest than just some wonderful vegetarian recipes interwoven with social commentary. The book can, and ought to be, read and reread as a manifesto for eco-environmental preservation. Whether you are a vegetarian, meat eater, organic or non this book in simple terms and with great honesty provides you with informed observation and lets you come away with your own personal solution to environmental stewardship and the Veggie Revolution.

About the authors:

Sally Kneidel, Ph.D., is a biologist, journalist, photographer, and parent of two college-age young adults. She has taught biology and writing in colleges and public schools for more than 15 years, and with her husband teaches tropical ecology on student trips to the rainforests of Costa Rica. She is particularly interested in issues related to the impact of our growing population on wildlife and habitat. While her first nine books deal strictly with zoology and botany, Veggie Revolution is her first examination of how human behavior and social responsibility affect the natural environment.

Sara Kate Kneidel, an activist, feminist, and Quaker, earned a B.A. in Spanish and women’s studies from Guilford College in 2005, with a minor in field biology. She worked as a vegetarian cook for three years, then planned and pulled together a communal vegetarian household for herself and friends, centered around a “food ethics” theme. After a stint as coordinator for a community-development program in Mexico, she recently returned from traveling in Spain and West Africa. Writing, she believes, is an effective means of raising public awareness of political issues and social concerns. Veggie Revolution is her first book.

by Harlan Weikle
Greener Magazine

editor's note: Read an excerpt from the book Veggie Revolution.
Get a copy of one of the book's recipes, "Greek Tofu Salad."