Food Philosopher Pollan Hopeful about Obama’s Take on Big-Ag Practices

“We are eating oil and spewing greenhouse gas”

The Long Now Foundation presents author and philosopher Michael Pollan, who holds both an immediate and long term appreciation for food and its relationship to a sustainable world.

“We find ourselves in an uncomfortable place,” says Pollan, who muses that he, along with others invested in sustainable practices, is now sitting at the table of federal government influencing food and agricultural policy. He declares that Obama understands the problem, but more importantly, will soon be forced to deal with the food system because it is at the heart of the creation of greenhouse gasses (CO2, methane, Ne).

Pollan applauds Michelle Obama, who recently planted an organic plot on the White House Grounds. For that effort, she received a few slaps. One such criticism came from the Mid-America CropLife Association (MACA), which represents the companies producing the pesticides and fertilizers underpinning “conventional” American agriculture who wrote:

“We really think by making this garden organic, you have cast aspersions on conventional foods in our industry. We really hope you consider, buying and using some of our wonderful crop protection products.”

Pollan acknowledges the accomplishment of the modern agricultural system of providing massive amounts of cheap food, but questions its true cost. The U.S. subsidizes only five crops and has encouraged the creation of monocrop farms which are excessively vulnerable to pest infestation, thus requiring more pesticides; however, the government does not subsidize the growth of broccoli.


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