Since this was my first experience meeting an author, I went into it with the attitude that I would sit through the boring presentation for the extra credit but came out of the experience interested and somewhat inspired to eat healthier and look at what I put in my mouth in a different way. Sure the book may have inspired many in the same way; however, Pollan was able to sum up all of his ideas in his book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma as well as share some that weren’t included in the book. To sum up his presentation I will share some interesting facts and statements by Michael Pollan.
One of the first statements Pollan says is that farmers hold the key to solving America’s food problems. During and after World War II farmers were ordered to mass produce food and figure out a way to do so. Innovative as they were, farmers turned chemicals used in war, such as ammonium nitrate and nerve gas, into chemicals to fertilize soil and make crops grow. These chemicals are both made with fossil fuels which are unreliable and undependable. Although one farmer today can feed up to 150 people, it takes 10 calories of fossil fuel to make one calorie of food. Before the use of fossil fuels it took 1 calorie of fossil fuel to make 2 calories of food. Seems like we are going backwards to me. In addition humans use 20% of oil to produce food, we spend about 500 billion treating problems from the American diet, and 1/3 of greenhouse gasses are produced from the production of food.
Michael Pollan ended the presentation asking the question, “What should we do?” First he suggested that the Farm Bill needs to be changed. Second he asked everyone to “eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” Lastly, plant a garden. A 70 dollar investment can turn into a 600 dollar per year yield.