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Pollan Gets Eloquent on the Farm Bill’s Ass

Who's your daddy?

Who’s your daddy?

If you care at all about food and where it comes from, do yourself a favor and read Omnivore’s Dilemma author Michael Pollan’s “You Are What You Grow” published in the Earth Day edition of The New York Times Magazine.

It’s a very readable essay against the Farm Bill’s stranglehold on the US agricultural economy and food markets and, and by extension, much of the world’s. Basically, the US offers vast subsidies to encourage overproduction of corn, wheat, soy, rice, and cotton. The surpluses are dumped in school lunches or undermine foreign markets. And prices for our food are viciously skewed. As Pollan writes, “the real price of fruits and vegetables between 1985 and 2000 increased by nearly 40 percent while the real price of soft drinks (a.k.a. liquid corn) declined by 23 percent.”

Even if you think you know this stuff, it’s always good to have a refresher on
why Twinkies are cheaper than carrots. Go, on read it.


  1. Comment by


    on #

    My only problem with the Ominvore’s Dilemma is that there isn’t one, at least not in the same sense as the author would have us believe. Author Michael Pollan says that we need a variety of plants and MEATS in order to be healthy individuals…and of course we know that isn’t true. Variety…yes. Meat…no.

  2. Comment by

    Jason Das

    on #

    Yeah, Omnivore’s Dilemma is fundamentally flawed. But I like this Times piece a lot.

  3. Comment by


    on #

    I don’t think Pollan says we “need” meat, but that we’ve had to adapt as omnivores to survive which included meat-eating…in the past. But now we have a choice. He made that choice to be vegetarian as part of the research for this book but it wasn’t his bag.

    I can only nod my head and agree with his scientifically-based arguments about our ancestors’ eating habits, and it’s easy since he doesn’t condemn vegetarianism. Not to defend him, but he does lament about making the personal choice to eat an animal a human identifies with and admits that vegans don’t have that issue.
    To me that’s a small victory.

    My choice of being vegan does not mean I have to condemn those who don’t do the same. Michael Pollan actually helped me become vegan because of his thorough, extremely well-written book about the disgusting and disgustingly cruel meat industry.