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Articles by Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan is author of In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto and The Omnivore's Dilemma.

Featured Article

Last year I published Food Rules, a short book offering 64 rules for eating well. Food Rules struck a chord with many people, who found that it helped them navigate what has become a treacherous food environment, whether in the supermarket or restaurant. Many of the rules were submitted by readers, and since publication I have received a number of excellent new ones. So I’ve decided to publish an expanded edition, with additional rules and also illustrations, which the painter Maira Kalman has agreed to create.

The premise of Food Rules is that culture has much to teach us about how to choose, prepare, and eat food and that this wisdom is worth collecting and preserving before it disappears. In recent years, we’ve deferred to the voices of science and industry when it comes to eating, yet often their advice has served us poorly, or has merely confirmed the wisdom of our grandmothers after the fact. “Eat your colors,” an Australian reader’s grandmother used to tell her; now we hear the same advice from nutritionists, citing the value of including in the diet as many different phytochemicals as possible.

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  • Michael Pollan calls for crafting a viable alternative for next time

     

    After many, many months of wrangling, Congress recently passed a farm bill, overriding a veto by the president. In my view, it is not a very good bill -- it preserves more or less intact the whole structure of subsidies responsible for so much that is wrong in the American food system.

    On the other hand, it does contain some significant new provisions that, with luck, will advance the growing movement toward a more just, sustainable, and healthy food system.

    You might rightly ask why there was so little movement on commodity subsidies, in a year when crop prices are at record highs and public scrutiny of the subsidy system has been intense. Indeed, the people on the Hill I talk to tell me they have not seen so much political activism around the farm bill in a generation. All the calls, cards, and emails sent by ordinary eaters clearly made a difference.

    So why so little change on the key issue? Why didn't we get a food bill, rather than another farm bill? Here's what I think happened.