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Scary Michael Pollan

2009-11-05 01:00:11.022191+00 by Dan Lyke 1 comments

Some time before I read Michael Pollan[Wiki]'s excellent look at agriculture in the United States, The Omnivore's Dilemma[Wiki], Charlene and I were taking a slightly long route home from Fresno and drove by the Harris Ranch stock yards. I've been to the Amarillo stock yards, I've driven by slaughterhouses in the midwest with the stench extending for miles, I've seen beef being raised before, but that experience put me off beef for quite a while.

(Previous to that, I'd also eaten at the Harris Ranch restaurant, as anyone who's driven from LA to SF and vice-versa a number of times probably has, and wasn't terribly impressed, but that's neither here nor there.)

And as I've educated myself a bit more, I've decided that it's worth paying a bit extra for meat that I know wasn't raised in conditions like that.

Anyway, yesterday Charlene forwarded me What's So Scary About Michael Pollan? Why Corporate Agriculture Tried to Censor His University Speech, about a kerfluffle between CalPoly and David E. Wood, chairman of the aforementioned Harris Ranch and a university donor. Today at Food Politics, you can read the original letters, including this gem:

For too long now, those intimately involved in production of agriculture have silently allowed others (academics and activists) to shape their future. Not any longer! The views of elitists’ like Michael Pollan can no longer go unchallenged. Agriculture cannot allow the Pollans of the world to shape societal expectations (and ultimately policy makers’ decisions) regarding the production practices that can or cannot be employed by those whose livelihood depends on the continued development and adoption of modern agriculture practices.

In other words: God forbid food consumers should become aware of the processes that feed them, or we might not be able to make so much money by hiding the externalities of food production!

[ related topics: Politics Food Consumerism and advertising California Culture Education Economics Michael Pollan ]

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#Comment Re: made: 2009-11-05 13:46:35.935604+00 by: Medley

That *was* quite an amazing statement. To the barricades! Uhh.. whuh? I remember thinking after I first read Omnivore's Dilemma[Wiki] that he was probably putting himself at risk...