Food expert raises stir at MSU
Author opposes production practices university supports
Matthew Miller • firstname.lastname@example.org • April 13, 2010
EAST LANSING - Amanda Sollman's question was pointed.
"You're currently standing in the state with the highest rate of unemployment in the country," the Michigan State University agriscience major said, "and a lot of the way that you propose we consume and produce food, whether that's more local, organic, mostly plants, that will inevitably result in higher food prices.
"How do you justify a group of people who can afford these luxuries driving food policy and food production practices for those who can't?"
She was speaking to Michael Pollan, food writer, author of such books as "The Omnivore's Dilemma," "In Defense of Food" and, most recently, "Food Rules.," and perhaps the nation's most influential critic of how we eat and how we grow our food.
The simple fact of Pollan's appearance at MSU - he spoke Monday night at the Wharton Center, and did an hourlong question-and-answer session open only to students that afternoon - was enough to cause ripples in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Read More
Food 'Fight' Comes to MSU
Famed food author Michael Pollan spoke at MSU Monday, but not everyone agrees with his views.
Posted: 11:27 PM Apr 12, 2010
What better way for famed food author Michael Pollan to make his point to a crowd at MSU Monday, than to bring along some groceries.
"This bread has 38 ingredients in it," Pollan said Monday.
Pollan's view -- which he's written about in several books -- is that Americans have lost their relationship with food because it's become over-processed, and thus, less nutritious.
"I agree with what he says," Judy Lindberg, who came to the speech Monday, said. "I like the natural food idea."
The author has also been very critical of the agriculture business as a whole, arguing the food industry does not have the best interests of the public at heart. Pollan spoke to a group at Google headquarters in 2008.
"They load it up," He said in 2008 of manufacturers. "Salt your own food, fatten your own food. You'll do a better job."
Not surprisingly, being MSU is one of the first land grant institutions, several students disagree with Pollan, farmers even came to campus Monday to dispute Pollan's views.
"I view Pollan's food policies as an elitist point of view and man kind, and Americans will pay the price if we follow his policies," Trent Loos said.
Loos, a 6th-generation farmer from Nebraska, also spoke with students Monday. He said he agrees with Pollan's natural view of food, but also says there's nothing wrong with using science to mass produce it, the very thing many MSU students study.
"I see his message as a slap in the face to great land instirutions, like MSU, across the country," Loos said. Read More
As these two articles allude to, Michael Pollan continued his “food scare” tour at Michigan State yesterday, carefully avoiding any critics of his plan to roll back the clock on American agriculture. As usual, he doesn’t seem concerned at all with the fact that his ideas will lead to one-half the population going hungry. That was the estimation of Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Norman Borlaug. And he freely admits that the food that will be raised will be much more expensive. People need to get passed the polished surface of his presentations and books and dig into the meat of what he is proposing.