Chris Lu '16 is reading...The Omnivore's Dilemna: a natural history of four meals
By: Michael Pollan
I first picked up The Omnivore’s Dilemma because my dad had just finished reading it. For me, reading this book opened my eyes to the American agricultural industry and what food has become in America. A large portion of our food intake is dominated by corn, whether that be a direct ingredient or as the primary nutrition source for the meat we eat. What really stood out was that Pollan doesn’t leave any stone uncovered, particularly with respects to the organic Industry. He claims that large corporations like Whole Foods that mass market organic produce actually aren’t necessarily doing anything significantly better than conventional farming, and that the term “organic” is just a terminology to give the buyer satisfaction and almost an excuse to raise prices. He argues that we should be focusing on local farming, essentially going back to our roots of eating what is grown around us.
I initially found his argument for local farming as unsustainable in a large country that still has so much hunger, but I think something that he may not have emphasized so much but is crucial to understanding his point is that America wastes enough food in a given year to feed itself again the next year. Once I realized this fact, my appreciation for what Pollan has written in The Omnivore’s Dilemma skyrocketed, and I think everyone can get something out of this book and apply it to their daily life choices.