This post guest written by LFA Intern, Loran Shamis. Unprocessed - My City Dwelling Year of Reclaiming Real Food by Megan Kimble is an informative, nonfiction memoir that draws in its readers in a personal and relatable manner. Unprocessed escorts the reader through Kimble’s year of exploring a completely unprocessed lifestyle while living in Tucson, Arizona. In looking to consume foods that are as unprocessed as possible, Kimble examines what goes into the making of the most commonly eaten foods in the American diet. Kimble attempts to replicate many of the processes used to create common foods. During this year, Kimble discovers much of what is wrong with the current, conventional food system and seeks to apply realistic solutions for the busy urban dweller. She outlines her year by picking apart the common processes involved in everything from melons to meat, from dairy to beer, and from microwaves to food stamps and seeks to personally understand these issues. Although at times Kimble finds these unprocessed processes to be a bit intricate and time-consuming, she still accomplishes sustainable solutions to everyday needs.
[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMNoJba068I[/embed] Kimble’s curiosity on paper is the perfect balance of persuasiveness without being condescending to conventional lifestyles. Kimble’s adventure brings along the reader to discover and alter their lifestyle together in sync. She addresses health issues affecting our bodies, economy, and environment directly correlated with the chemical processes involved in our commonly consumed products. After flipping through the chapter on wheat, one may be tempted to purchase their own wheat mill for home use. While the tone of Kimble’s book is always conversational and never accusatory in regards to commercial farming processes, it is likely that many readers will start to question their own buying habits in regards to dairy and beef.
One of the major solutions touched upon in Unprocessed is the real value of voting with your dollar. After directly struggling to untangle the processes so tightly ingrained in her lifestyle, Kimble discovered the value of giving her money to those within her own community who dedicate their lives to healthier alternatives. It was a true honor to have Local First Arizona’s Executive Director, Kimber Lanning, quoted and referenced in such an influential book written by such a thoughtful woman. Through the year full of unprocessed struggles that faced Kimble, it became more and more evident that shifting the dollars spent at large corporations to local and ethical businesses is totally worth it! It allows these sensible, smaller companies to become sustainable on their own while continuing to strengthen our local economy. Even though Kimble references many favorite local businesses in Tucson who supported her throughout her unprocessed year, the obstacles she tackled are relevant for anyone living in any town, big or small. Kimble's book is a great read for anyone with an interest in food. Pick up a copy at your favorite, locally-owned bookstore.
Kimble will be one of the keynote speakers at the upcoming Arizona Farmer + Chef Connection event on September 16th at the Tucson Convention Center.