Known as an author, journalist and activist, Michael Pollan may soon be adding “Ath speaker” to his resume as early as next year. Pollan is best known for authoring The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, a non-fiction foray into different food-production systems. His accomplishments are not limited to this book however. Though not quite as well known, Pollan’s The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World and In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto have also received critical acclaim. These books, in addition to two others, can be found at Honnold Mudd Library. Pollan has also published a number of articles on agribusiness.
The Omnivore’s Dilemma researches the four basic structures that human societies have implemented to obtain food: the current food industry, the growing organic industry, local self-sufficient farming, and the hunter-gatherer. Pollan creates four meals on the basis of these four structures and explains the economic and ecological ramifications of each nutritional lifestyle. In Defense of Food, Pollan’s most recent book, continues to develop his attitudes toward modern nutrition but focuses more on the different cultural perspectives of diet. Pollan’s rudimentary nutritional philosophy is the following: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants” and Pollan devotes the entirety of In Defense of Food to elaborating on this idea.
Michael Pollan’s concerns could not be more pertinent considering the fad-diet obsessed nation in which we live. The food industry is ever-changing and most consumers are ill-equipped to understand and address the issues presented by these changes. Pollan’s books shed light on a very complex issue and his Ath speech would likely do the same.