Author Feature: Kimberley Veness

Let's Eat by Kimberley Veness

All the food you eat, whether it’s an apple or a steak or a chocolate-coated cricket, has a story. Let’s Eat uncovers the secret lives of our groceries, exploring alternative—and sometimes bizarre—farm technology and touring gardens up high on corporate rooftops and down low in military-style bunkers beneath city streets. Packed with interesting and sometimes startling facts on agriculture around the world, Let’s Eat reveals everything from the size of the biggest farm in the world to how many pesticides are in a single grape to which insect people prefer to eat.

What kind of research did you do for your book?

I hungrily researched all I could on modern agriculture and what agriculture will look like decades from now.

Do you write in chronological order?

Somewhat. My book is fact-based, so it follows some chronological order of the evolution of agriculture, but there are some areas that needed a flashback to how things were done in the old days.

What’s the hardest part of writing?

Making cuts. This is my first book, and it just so happens it’s on a topic I find very compelling. So I researched it to death. I probably could have written three books on modern agriculture. Certain topics, like sustainable aquaculture, or farming in space, could have become books of their own. I had that much material, and there was that much more material out there to be researched and recorded. I also found it hard to keep my information as timely as possible, since I completed the majority of the book a year and a half or so before it was actually published. The ways in which we grow food around the world every day changes by the minute. There are so many mind bendingly awesome innovations, I wish I could have put them all there in the book.

Footprint, Food, Groceries, SustainabilityWhat’s your favorite form of procrastination?

FOOD. The foodiness is intense with this one. It was over three years from signing my book contract with Orca, to completing the final edits of Let’s Eat. I spent much of the first few months working in coffee shops in Fernwood, a sweet hippie neighbourhood where I lived in Victoria. I had to go out and work in coffee shops so I wouldn’t be tempted to take breaks every few minutes at home to get a snack, or fix myself some lavish meal that was totally unneeded. So I’d pack up and go to coffee shops, give myself a $10 allowance for coffee and muffins (or if I needed it, beer) and that was it. Whenever I’m writing, I have to stick to the “do not leave the room” rule. This really applied to my writing and editing in the final year of my book when I had a toddler at home and was pregnant with my second child. My house was a MESS. If I left my desk I knew I would see piles of laundry and stumble over countless trucks and megablocks on my way to the coffee maker. It made staying focused on my computer screen that much more important.

What book do you wish you wrote?

I think agriculture is moving indoors. Hardy pests and climate change are making growing indoors more appealing. And the way we are growing food indoors is so clean and sustainable in comparison to conventional agriculture happening right now out in any monoculture field. I am happy with the range of topics I covered in Let’s Eat. Perhaps I will get around to writing another fact book on food, this time on indoor agriculture and its importance in keeping us fed and our earth healthy.

What is your favorite aspect / part of your new book?

Farming in space! How could that not be my favorite part? It’s like something out of a sci-fi novel, and really, that’s the world our children are growing into, where technology is taking us to places and helping us to do things we only ever dreamed we could. It’s a fascinating time to be alive. Especially if you care about food.

What is your writing ritual?

I write best (read: I have prime focus) in the early morning on an empty stomach during my second coffee, preferably with my feet up.

Kimberley Veness
Kimberley Veness is a freelance writer and editor who lives in Adams Lake, British Columbia, with her partner and two children. Let’s Eat is her first book. For more information, visit www.kimberleybveness.com.

You may also like

Leave a Reply