I grew up on a farm. I worked in a market that specializes in local and organic produce, meat, and dairy. I love to cook. To be honest, I already knew, generally, a lot of the things that Michael Pollan talks about in this book.
That being said, I still learned a lot. I knew there were problems with how the US subsidizes commodities in this country, but I didn’t know how much of the problem those subsidies cause. I knew that a lot of the stuff you find at Whole Foods isn’t really “organic” or “free range,” but I didn’t realize how bad Horizon was. I knew Polyface was great but…actually I knew just how amazing they are. I’ve worked with Polyface before (the store I worked in stocked a number of their products) so I wasn’t surprised at how idyllic the place sounds in the book.
Many of the problems in the agriculture industry contribute to a great many of America’s health and environmental problems. If the government supported more businesses like Polyface, rather than Perdue, we could alleviate some of them. Less fertilizer runoff means an improved watershed, which means more fish in the sea and safer drinking water. Less corn in our food means healthier people. Less antibiotics in our animals means fewer antibiotic resistant diseases.
For someone who has very little exposure to agriculture in this country, Pollan’s book is a fantastic place to start. For someone already interested in the subject, Pollan has a lot of good references (especially in his bibliography) for further reading.
You can see HDW’s review here.