Ganesh's Reviews > In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
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's review
Jan 13, 08

bookshelves: food, to-read, culture, environment

Last night, I watched Pollan -- who looks just like one of my uncles -- on TV promoting this book. Something wonderful and empowering he said: the food industry pays very close attention to what consumers want.

In fact, they're terrified of us.

For instance, it only took a little over 100 concerned McDonald's customers writing to ask if it were true that the chain served genetically modified potatoes -- that was enough
to get the issue on the agenda at their shareholders' meeting.

Another example: in his popular book The Omnivore's Dilemma, Pollan was very critical of Whole Foods' support of gigantic organic farms , and in response, the CEO made a commitment to support small, local farmers by buying more of their produce and allowing them to sell their own produce outside the store.

Last week I put a note in the suggestion box at my grocery store: "I would be in HEAVEN if you had organic apples from local farms* . . . "

From now on, trips to the grocery store will be more fun as I walk the aisles, thinking of the kind of changes I'd like to see and writing them down.

*I live in New England. If shoppers were willing to pay for organic, locally grown fruit, there would be no reason to fly in apples grown on another continent.

Pollan argues that about 80% of the population can afford to pay more for food. As a nation, we spend less than 10 % of our income on food -- which is less than any country in history. (The French currently spend about 15%.) It's a matter of priorties. Maybe to afford for food that is healthy for our bodies, communities, and earth, we will need to forgo things that aren't true necessities.

And Pollan argues that healthy food should be available for everyone. For the 20% of us who can't afford organic food, we need to reform our agricultural policies to stop subsidzing a toxic fast-food culture and begin building a health-focused culture.

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Quotes Ganesh Liked

Michael Pollan
“Shake the hand that feeds you.”
Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Dan (new)

Dan Robinson Tien,
Your reviews are wonderful, concise, inspiring. I find myself hoping that those who might put them "out there" where more people would see and read them will take notice!
For myself and anyone else who finds watering for seeds of inspiration in your words - thank you.
Dan R

message 2: by Ganesh (new) - added it

Ganesh Thanks for the kind words. Like everyone on this site, I love books and love to share that love.

Sharon Mason Yes! "Vote With Your Fork", as Pollan says. I think you're picking up on one of the important, under-commented-on themes of the book. We change the food industry with each spending decision we make. As you said, it's an empowering message.

Benjamin There would still be reason to fly in apples when all of the local apples are consumed....Not that I support flying in apples from another continent but there would still be a demand. Living in a Capitalistic Economy demand drives our economy not principles.

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