October 15, 2006

Michael Pollan in NY Times

A member of the Portland Permaculture Guild listserv alerted us to a new Michael Pollan article in today's NY Times Magazine. As usual, it's very interesting and well written; the topic is "The Vegetable-Industrial Complex". Very timely considering the recent E.coli scares relating to spinach and lettuce.

Pollan is essentially arguing that big scale, technological fixes to agricultural problems usually only lead to more problems, and that what is needed instead is a food system that is diverse and more dependent on consumer-farmer relationships than on regulation.

This is something Rich and I have been thinking about and supporting with our work for several years now. And as a consumer, I feel so much more confident buying locally produced food. We've been lucky this year that our local farmers' market added several new organic growers... I much prefer supporting their hard and conscientious work than giving my money to Fred Meyer or Safeway. (Every time I pick up a waxed cucumber, it just grosses me out! How nice it was this summer to enjoy delicious in-season cucumbers with the skin still on!)

Pollan also touches upon the issue of food and national security. A national food system of production and distribution is inherently vulnerable to sabotage. Do you feel comfortable putting your families health in the hands of Big Ag? Has the government demonstrated in any tangible way that they have taken any steps to protect our food supply? And if they do take steps - such as requiring irradiation of vegetables - what harm does that end up doing to consumers and small farmers?

Food for thought...

Posted by val at October 15, 2006 11:11 AM