Michael Pollan on Food, Energy, Climate, and Health

In his latest column, Nicholas Kristof encourages President-Elect Obama to heed Michael Pollan’s call for a radically new food policy. Pollan makes a convincing case that our current food system is a “shadow problem.” If we’re serious about working on energy independence, climate change, and health care, we have to change how we’re feeding ourselves.

During his interview with Pollan At Web 2.0 Summit last month, John Battelle boils it down to “eat sunshine.” Pollan challenges the audience to make a difference in the food system. Watch the video and ask yourself–can tech innovators and entrepreneurs create technology to make the food system more transparent and carbon-neutral, and figure out how to make money creating solar food production systems?

  • Pollen’s session at the Web 2.0 session was, for me, the most memorable.

    When I read Kristof’s column yesterday I was reminded how bad our government’s agricultural policies are screwing up our food systems. His story about how he is still getting subsidies for not growing crops on his Oregon farm even though he lives in New York is telling. And reminds me of some stories from when I was growing up in California.

    I know it’s a simplistic take on the issue, but if people just cared about how their food actually tasted, we’d be much better off. Because local food tastes better. So people would create more demand for locally produced food.

    I tried to capture some thoughts here on this very topic yesterday here http://bit.ly/Qwhp

    thanks for the post.

  • A great posting – thanks for that.

    I remember running a project for a fruit picking company some years ago that unearthed a similar paradigm shift…

    Almost every other product or service in our economy has value added with each additional production step.
    Fruit is the opposite though – it is it’s most valuable right when picked, and every extra step basically takes value away.

    There are a lot of generic business concepts to unlearn if we are to properly understand this ‘sunshine food’ concept. Hopefully we will begin to better understand how expensive the real cost of a cheap donut is.

  • Kelcy

    It’s not just the growing system that’s a problem. Our “food” is so full of chemicals to preserve it that we are being poisoned which impacts on the health system. Need to ensure that we don’t fix the CO2 load at the expense of other parts of the ecosystem.

  • Thank you so much for sharing this info and the youtube clip. I mean it. I feel educated and inspired. Everyone needs to watch this.

  • Tom

    Currently profits in food production are nothing to do with the quantity produced.
    In certain places in Africa mixed crops (veggie patches under small fruit trees sheltered by much larger nut trees or maize (corn) mixed with beans or peas and squash) can produce 25 tons of edible food per acre per year with no chemicals. It takes a bit of labour though and despite cheap labour is being ripped out to provide two 4 ton grain crops with a lot of fertiliser and pesticides and water. That makes a bigger profit!
    The market works to improve profit not production – which is what we need for feeding more.