Michael Pollan (born February 6, 1955) is an American author, journalist, activist, and professor of journalism at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. A 2006 New York Times book review describes him as a "liberal foodie intellectual."
In The Omnivore's Dilemma, Pollan describes four basic ways that human societies have obtained food: the current industrial system, the big organic operation, the local self-sufficient farm, and the hunter-gatherer. Pollan follows each of these processes—from a group of plants photosynthesizing calories through a series of intermediate stages, ultimately into a meal. Along the way, he suggests that there is a fundamental tension between the logic of nature and the logic of human industry, that the way we eat represents our most profound engagement with the natural world, and that industrial eating obscures crucially important ecological relationships and connections. On December 10, 2006 The New York Times named The Omnivore's Dilemma one of the five best nonfiction books of the year. On May 8, 2007, the James Beard Foundation named The Omnivore's Dilemma its 2007 winner for the best food writing. It was the book of focus for the University of Pennsylvania's Reading Project in 2007, and the book of choice for Washington State University's Common Reading Program in 2009–10. An excerpt of the book was published in Mother Jones.
Pollan's discussion of the industrial food chain is in large part a critique of modern agribusiness. According to the book, agribusiness has lost touch with the natural cycles of farming, wherein livestock and crops intertwine in mutually beneficial circles. Pollan's critique of modern agribusiness focuses on what he describes as the overuse of corn for purposes ranging from fattening cattle to massive production of corn oil, high-fructose corn syrup, and other corn derivatives. He describes what he sees as the inefficiencies and other drawbacks of factory farming and gives his assessment of organic food production and what it's like to hunt and gather food. He blames those who set the rules (i.e., politicians in Washington, D.C., bureaucrats at the United States Department of Agriculture, Wall Street capitalists, and agricultural conglomerates like Archer Daniels Midland) of what he calls a destructive and precarious agricultural system that has wrought havoc upon the diet, nutrition, and well-being of Americans. Pollan finds hope in Joel Salatin's Polyface Farm in Virginia, which he sees as a model of sustainability in commercial farming. Pollan appears in the documentary film King Corn (2007).
- Graduate School of Journalism, Faculty: Michael Pollan, http://journalism.berkeley.edu/faculty/pollan, UC Berkeley, 2008. Accessed April 22, 2014
- http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/23/books/review/23kamp.html?_r=1, David Kamp, 'The Omnivore's Dilemma,' by Michael Pollan: Deconstructing Dinner, The New York Times, August 23, 2006
- http://www.algemeiner.com/2012/08/19/top-ten-jews-helping-the-goyim-spoof, Top Ten Jews Helping the Goyim, August 19, 2012, Ari Teman, Accessed April 22, 2014
- http://www.jpost.com/Jewish-World/Jewish-Features/50-most-influential-Jews-Places-31-40, 50 most influential Jews: Places 31-40, May 25, 2012, STEVE LINDE, A. SPIRO, G, HOFFMAN. Accessed April 22, 2014
- Pollan, Michael, Mother Jones, May 2006, http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2006/05/no_bar_code.html, Accessed April 22, 2014
- Official site
- (video) Michael Pollan on the Politics of Food from UC Television (UCTV)
- "The omnivore's next dilemma" at TED Talks
- "In Defense of Food" at The Free Library of Philadelphia, January 10, 2008
- Skewed View from the Berkeley Hills: Why Michael Pollan and Alice Waters should quit celebrating food-price hikes by Tom Philpott, Grist, April 4, 2009.
- Food and Fossil Fuels by Melissa Moser, UNC News 21 Project, , June 25, 2009
- Why are Farmers Afraid of Michael Pollan? by Jim Goodman, CounterPunch, Sept 25 2009
- Michael Pollan on "Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual" - video report by Democracy Now!