I just read an interesting conversation between Tom Philpott (of Maverick Farms) and Michael Pollan on Grist. Pollan is best known as the author of The Omnivore’s Dilemna, and he’s been working on a new book called “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto” which is due out in January.
According to Pollan, the basic argument in his new book is as follows:
The interesting thing that I learned was that if you’re really concerned about your health, the best decisions for your health turn out to be the best decisions for the farmer and the best decisions for the environment — and that there is no contradiction there.
One element I’ve always appreciated in Pollan’s writing is the lack of nostalgia and sentimentality in his approach to environmentalism. In this case, his argument is that what is best for the environment is also best for our own health and the most enjoyable way to eat.
Though it’s certainly not easy or even possible to eat locally in Colorado in the winter, it’s hard to argue with the value of unrefined, local, and fresh ingredients. There is no tomato equal to a fresh picked tomato off the vine. And if you want to live a long and healthy life, learn to love those dark green leafy vegetables.
Changing deeply-ingrained habits is no short process, and there is a strong business marketing apparatus aligned to support the status quo. I’m not naive enough to believe that the sea change is upon us. Still, it’s good to see increasing awareness of the issue, and I believe that there are enlightened leaders in the agribusiness community who will do their part to push the process forward. You can read the conversation here.