BLACKSBURG, Va. – September 14, 2010 marked the day that world-renowned author Barbara Kingsolver and her co-author husband Dr. Steven Hopp visited Virginia Tech. The couple spent time with students in two reading group sessions, as well as addressed a crowd on the subject of this year’s Virginia Tech common book. The chosen book, “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle,” highlights the importance of re-establishing the sense of community that has been removed from the American food system over the past half-century. Kingsolver, Hopp, and their daughter Camille all wrote portions of the book, which explored various food issues over a year of local eating.
During one of the afternoon book discussion sessions, Kingsolver and Hopp turned the tables and asked the student groups several questions about dining at the university. Upon finding out about The Farms & Fields Project and student involvement in food issues on campus, they seemed intrigued, holding a lengthy discussion with members of the group about the university’s progress regarding food sourcing and sustainability.
The keynote event, held at 8pm in Burruss Hall and open free to the public, consisted of Hopp and Kingsolver reading portions of the book highlighting the importance of regional and responsible eating. After reading a lengthy segment from the book that Kingsolver admitted to be a “downer,” she turned to a more positive note. The pair advised students and the community to take action in building a more sustainable food system; a major step being the act of eating at The Farms & Fields Project in Owens Food Court. A session of question-and-answer ensued, and a book-signing concluded the evening’s events.