Sunday, May 24, 2009

Bookish: The Omnivore's Dilemma

So, I read the Young Reader's Edition of Michael Pollan's much-lauded manifesto on the state of food. Why? Because I got a free ARC at a conference, and the information is the same as the adult version; it's just written on a lower level. The book was great--compelling, interesting, and truthful. It didn't read like propaganda; rather, like Pollan had set out to find the truth, and he found it. Agriculture in America is not a pretty thing these days. It is extremely unusual to find Ma and Pa Farmer working their land, raising animals and different crops--it just doesn't work that way anymore. These days, with government subsidies and the insane dependence on corn, it doesn't pay off to grow multiple crops or raise multiple animals. Pollan visits big corn farms, big cow farms, big organic farms--which are better because of the lack of pesticide, but still not as great as you might imagine--an industrial farm raising "free range" chickens that never leave the coop, and a small, local farm that works the way farms used to work--the way they SHOULD work. Pollan even hunts and gathers his own food, to get the full picture of how food can be obtained.

Warning to parents: your kids may want you to change the way you shop after reading this book. But if you read it too, you may want to change the way you eat. An interested, eye-opening read. Recommended, in either version.

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