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Michael Pollan’s Words Come to Life in “Food Rules”

February 20, 2012

flickr - markybon

The biggest selling point of my college’s dining hall is that, in response to the gradual greening of the campus. it offers lot of fresh, often organic or locally-grown items.  However, when it comes to buying food for those in-between-meals, I find myself at a loss, largely because the two grocery stores closest to my dorm do not sell organic produce.   Although a Whole Foods is conveniently located only a few blocks further, the lack of organic produce in a regular super market raises the question: why doesn’t more of our food come from organic sources?

One of the most common objections to organic food, besides the slightly higher price, is that organic production is not possible on a large scale.  A new semi-viral video, made by Marija Jacimovic and Benoit Detalle, animates a speech given by author, journalist, activist, and professor Michael Pollan.  Most people know about Michael Pollan from his book The Omnivore’s Dilemma, in which Pollan describes the food chains from which we obtain food: the current industrial system, the large scale organic operations, the small-scale local farms and the food we forage ourselves.

The video however, addresses some key concerns about the feasibility of using organic food to feed the world, and does it in a way that’s fun and interesting to watch.  If you don’t have the two minutes to watch the video, get the key points of Pollan’s argument below.

1) We produce more than enough food to feed the entire population, but a lot of it is wasted, fed to animals, or used as fuel.

2) If the developing world were to adapt to organic production, they would have a tremendous increase in yield.

3) Industrial agriculture is an incredibly fossil fuel-intensive process, and eventually food will have to be produced without extensive fossil fuel use.

The video itself is currently in the running for a joint award from the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce and the Nominet Trust. If you’d like to vote for the video, and see the other contestants, you can do so here.


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