Wednesday, July 2, 2008
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals / Michael Pollan -- NY: Penguin Press, 2006.
I was attracted to this book on based on Pollan's earlier book, The Botany of Desire. In the Omnivore's Dilemma, Pollan examines the origins of food in four food chains. In the process he reveals startling facts about the food we get from grocery stores, restaurants, and "big organic" grocers like Whole Foods. He provides a detailed description of Polyface Farms in Virginia, which strives to produce food for local consumption, using inputs that are entirely found on the farm itself. All in all, the book is a powerful argument for eating locally grown produce. His section on vegetarianism presents the stongest case for meat eating that I have read, though what is argued to be justified is only meat that comes from a self-sufficient farm like Polyface and where the animals are essential to the sufficiency of the farm.