Hans's Reviews > The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
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's review
Feb 01, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: political, social-commentary, paradigm-shifting, favorites
Read in February, 2009

I am not even sure how to explain how much this book has affected my thinking on a topic I admittedly know little about. Perhaps that is why it had such an affect. I never once considered that eating food was a moral or ethical issue, and yet it very clearly is. What we consume and how we consume it says a lot about who we are and what we value in life. The repercussions of our choices in what we eat go well beyond any scope we are able to comprehend. The industrial machine that feeds us grinds up everything that is put into it and pumps out nicely packaged and cleverly marketed garbage for food. However, the cost at which this comes is high, and the product is no where near worth the price.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by J.G. Keely (new)

J.G. Keely The funny thing is how people tried to rebel against the big food industry, but the organic market is a complete failure. Firstly, it's owned and run by the same big corporations, second it produces less food, and it also results in greater levels of pollution.

Here are a couple articles:


Ever wonder why its cheaper to buy processed food than apples? I mean, they have to break down all the ingredients in factories and reconstitute them, so how can that be less expensive than just shipping fruit and veggies?

Well, it isn't, but in America, the government gives big agribusinesses taxpayer money to make processed foods, despite the fact that they are unhealthful and chemically intensive. It's called 'the Farm Bill', and it costs 300 billion a year.


Forgive me if omnivore's dilemma already addresses these issues. My only experience with it was a speech at TED about the Polyface sustainable farm. Here is it:


Hans Thanks for the TED link and the articles. This is a fascinating topic for me since I just barely became aware of it.

Travis Hey Hans, I just watched the TED video too. I loved this book, this topic, and Pollan's writing. You might also like his book about the education of an amateur builder, especially after building the farm house.

message 4: by Pete (new)

Pete Hans,
What a great read! I listened to this book on CD while pruning hundreds of greenhouse tomato plants that were "organically" cultivated. All the while greenhouse bumble bees were busily pollinating the flowers. It was a great setting to be listening to Michael Pollan's theories and discoveries into corporate agriculture. It really made me question our own practices as well, specifically the subject of sustainability.
My only disappointment was that his depth of discovery into commercial agriculture wasn't balanced by the immense efforts of family farmers, similar to Polyface Farms, who are attempting to revolutionize the farming industry on a grassroots level. Perhaps that would have been too much for one book.
Suffice it by saying that there are at least a dozen philosophies, and many more that I know little about, currently being practiced around the world that are both enhancing the ecosystems around them, and producing sufficient yields as to be economically viable. And then again, maybe that was one of his intentions in writing about Polyface Farms. Or perhaps he spends more time on that subject in his sequel, In Defense of Food.
Ultimately, this is one of a handful of books that I always recommend to those seeking souls, curious about the ways of corporate America, and it's unsatiable quest for taking over the world - I mean, profits.

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