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The Arts
03.23.11

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Phaedra

Appetite for Destruction?

Michael Pollan vs. the dollar menu

By Jessica Dur


"Our only home is bone," sang They Might Be Giants in "Cowtown," an early-'80s nod to the sacredness of our bodies. Thirty years later, as Americans continue to get fatter and drive-throughs are as clogged as our arteries, many can't help but wonder: why do people (willingly) destroy their own "homes" by eating unhealthy food?

The answer, according to Michael Pollan, is that America now produces cheaper food than ever before in history. Yet what's good for the wallet is devastating to our bodies, our environment, our climate and indeed our quality of life. "Cheap food," Pollan points out, "is dishonestly priced—it is in fact unconscionably expensive."

The author of six books, including The Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food and, most recently, Food Rules: An Eater's Manual, Pollan's proposes "resolarizing" and "reregionalizing" the American farm. This means replacing the ruthlessly profit-driven industry of vast swaths of monocropped agriculture, petroleum-based pesticides and factory feedlots with localized polyculture farms that produce healthy plants and animals, and by extension, healthy people.

Michael Pollan speaks on Thursday, March 24, at the Marin Center. 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 8pm. $20-$45. 415.499.6800.


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