Monday, August 07, 2006

The Omnivore's Dilemma

The Omnivore's Dilemma, Michael Pollan

When one can eat nearly anything, how does one choose what to eat? That is the omnivore's dilemma. Michael Pollan explores this dilemma by following four food chains from end to end. He starts by visiting (and plowing)an Iowa cornfield, then follows the corn through feedlots and wet mills to a fast-food meal eaten on the go. He examines "big organic," visiting the large farms that use industrial-agricultural methods but replace fertilizer, pesticide, and herbicide applications with manure, concentrated plant extracts, and intensive cultivation. These farms produce large volumes of standardized produce for grocery chains. He moves on to a "grass farm" that produces beef, pork, chicken, turkey, eggs, vegetables, and lumber with next to no inputs-only chicken feed. Finally, he eats a meal with only ingredients he personally gathered, hunted, or grew.

In the process of reviewing these food chains, Pollan reveals the costs-environmental, nutritional, and moral-of each one. The omnivore's dilemma is not only what is good to eat, but what is right to eat. If you don't look too closely at where your food comes from--whether it's industrial or organic--The Omnivore's Dilemma is a real eye-opener.

1 comment:

Green Living Radio said...

Hello Checkered Rooster:

If interested Organically Speaking a Seattle base website has released a conversation with Michael Pollan podcast (audio conversation). Interesting tidbits on farmers markets, CSAs, and more!

Some Podcast Show Note Questions:

Q) Why the price difference between conventional food and organic and how do we go about bringing down organic food prices?

Q) How can small local organic farmers remain local in a capitalistic system?

Q) What is the "Food Web" you briefly touch on in your book, The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals.

http://OrganicallySpeaking.org

All the best,
-Ricardo

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