Kingsolver Discussion Questions

Not including reading time, spend a single-tasking hour on these tasks

  1. In the first 8 pages of the chapter, Kingsolver explains the reasons why she and her family left Tuscon, AZ to move to a family farm in Virginia. Migrations like hers often have push-factors (that push people to leave) and pull-factors (that pull people to a new place). Make a two-column list of all the push- and pull-factors you can find in these eight pages. Make your list entries as descriptive as you can.
  2. In what variety of ways is oil used in food production?
  3. On pp. 8-13, Kingsolver explains that most Americans no longer have very accurate or usable knowledge about how food is produced. According to Kingsolver, what specific pieces of knowledge have we lost and why does that loss matter?
  4. On pp. 13-15, Kingsolver explains the “drastic reconfiguration of American farming … just after WWII” in terms of corporate goals and activities, changes in federal government farm policies, and the emergence of advertising to sell industrially produced food. Give a before-and-after description of these changes.
  5. On pp. 15-21, Kingsolver mourns the absence of a working “food culture” in the United States, asking “where are our ingrained rules of taste and civility, our ancient treaties between our human cravings and the particular fat of our land?” (16). First, find her definition of “food culture” and paraphrase it entirely in your own words. Don’t do a word-by-word paraphrase. Instead, read the passage and restate it in your own words. It’s likely that your paraphrase will be longer than the two-sentence Kingsolver definition. Then explain what, instead of an authentic food culture, Americans use to decide what to eat?