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Hi, I'm Unknown #1

Unknown #1

Michael Pollan at UW last night

Food, Love and Policy By Unknown #1 on November 11, 2010

My husband and I joined several hundred other Milwaukeeans at the UWM union last night to hear Michael Pollan talk about the food system, "nutritionism" and health. 


Because I work for Outpost, much of what Mr Pollan had to say was familiar material to me, but I did learn some new things, embraced some new perspectives and enjoyed the talk very much. Pollan focused on the ways in which we approach food and think about food -- as a delivery vehicle for the various nutrients we all need. We turn to experts to tell us why this pomegranate is good for us, why these Omega-3s are beneficial while the Omega-6s are problematic... and by doing so, we surrender control of our food. We buy food items because of the nutritional promises on the labels, but an apple doesn't have a label and doesn't make any promises -- or break them, either. Pollan said this is similar to the way in which humans surrendered their spirituality and handed it over to the experts -- priests. Interesting, right? So get back to enjoying food -- real, basic, fresh food -- embrace the joy of food and the ritual of mealtimes -- with real, basic, fresh food -- and we'll all be better off. Sounds so simple.


But it's not simple, because our agricultural system is a mess; a never-ending stretch of chemical-doused field after field of rotating soy and corn which is harvested for highly-processed, refined food stuffs. We can't separate our health and wellness from our food supply, and we can't separate our food supply from our agricultural system. We need to vote with our forks and demand diversity of crops. 


All in all, it was very inspiring. And Pollan gave us a good tip: If you want to cook more, watch Alice Waters' Green Kitchen videos. And then he left us with a beautiful quote from his self-proclaimed hero, Wendell Berry:  


We must never forget "that our land passes in and out of our bodies, just as our bodies pass in and out of our land; that as we and our land are a part of one another, so are all who are living as neighbors here, human, plant and animal, are a part of one another, so cannot possibly flourish alone."


Thank you for coming to Milwaukee, Mr Pollan!


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