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Jul. 6, 2006
The Pollan-ator
The Pollan-atorLast Thursday, during our weekly, all-company, “come have a bagel, some fruit and catch up” type meeting, we were graced with the presence and edifications of Michael Pollan, author of The Botany of Desire and more recently The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. He shared insights from his deep analysis of our food chains, our place within them and their many places within us.

Michael’s latest book describes the history and influence of industrialized agriculture and how that's related to the "national eating disorder" we’re all a part of, whether we realize it or not. It questions what it means for a food to be “better,” challenges “organic” as a cure-all catchphrase, reconstructs how those items on your plate got to your plate AND how very few of those foods, if any at all, would exist if it weren’t for our national dependence on corn. From soda, to meat, to French fries…they all owe their existence to corn on some basal level, making us, and I quote, “…the corniest people in the world.” Funny, scary, but true.

He was inspiring, eloquent, succinct, informative, humble and appropriately enshrouded at times by the gruff, tell-it-like-it-is tone that can only be properly cultivated in New York City.

Being a food company, we’re immersed in the trends of the food industry, and being a Berkeley-based natural food company, we’re even more so. Saturated even. It’s nice then to experience something like Michael’s talk; widening the eyes and deepening the pool of “what if’s?” we have to pull from as we traipse down our aisles of choice in business and as individual consumers. The more people who hear Michael will cause the Pollan-nation and its learn-what-you-can, vote-with-your-dollars message to grow.

Like corn, maybe. Take stalk everyone. This kernel’s about to pop! (Ok, I’ll stop now.) Mr. Pollan, thank you again.

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We like getting our heart rates up, taking a big breath of fresh air, savoring delicious food. But we also love telling stories and here's where we type 'em up. (BTW, it works both ways; leave a comment—please and thank you.)

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