By Leon Lindley
Where does our food come from? How is it produced? Is it safe? Is it produced ethically? These are but a few questions Michael Pollan covers in his book Omnivore’s Dilemma. It is a book about the industrial food chain and how we arrived at the current industrial model. It is well written and can be read and understood at many levels. It is an especially good read for Iowans, since much of the industrial food model begins with corn. If you read this book, you may begin to understand some of the fundamental processes of today’s agricultural juggernaut.
Here are a number of the questions that get raised. Why is the family farm all but dead or dying? Why do the public and the political leaders accept polluted rivers and poisoned land? Why is most of our meat coming from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO)? Why doesn’t the government properly regulate CAFO pollution, use of antibiotics and inhumane treatment of animals? Why is the current industrial food model making Americans obese? Why is industrial agriculture so heavily subsidized and why is bigger favored over better? Why is bacteria such a problem on the feedlot and how does the push for irradiation factor in? Are there good alternatives to the way we produce our food? Is cheap food really cheap? What are the hidden costs?
If you have a desire to understand these questions, I can strongly recommend this book. If you want to begin thinking about alternatives to pollution, to unhealthy foods, to unethically raised meat, I also recommend this book. If you simply want to become better informed so as to make good choices, I also recommend this book.