Alumni News

President Obama Cites Pollan '76 on Food Policy

Michael Pollan ’76 seems to have stirred the political pot with his much-read column in The New York Times asking the next U.S. president to rethink the nation’s food policy. President Barack Obama cited Pollan’s piece at length in a pre-election interview with Time Magazine:

Image of President Barack Obama

I was just reading an article by Michael Pollan about food and the fact that our entire agricultural system is built on cheap oil. As a consequence, our agriculture sector actually is contributing more greenhouse gases than our transportation sector. And in the mean time, it’s creating monocultures that are vulnerable to national security threats, are now vulnerable to sky-high food prices or crashes in food prices, huge swings in commodity prices, and are partly responsible for the explosion in our healthcare costs because they're contributing to diabetes, stroke and heart disease, obesity, all the things that are driving our huge explosion in healthcare costs. That’s just one sector of the economy. You think about the same thing is true on transportation. The same thing is true on how we construct our buildings. The same is true across the board.

Pollan is the author, most recently, of In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto. A selection from the bestselling book was chosen for the Best Food Writing 2008 anthology— the second time his work has appeared in the widely read annual series.

“A fascinating sidebar to Pollan’s 2006 bestseller The Omnivores Dilemma, this new book turns a searchlight onto the politics of American’s eating habits—and finds them in dire need of revision,” says Holly Hughes, editor of the anthology.

The Omnivores Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals appeared in Best Food Writing 2006, and was named one of the 10 best books of the year by The New York Times and Washington Post. It also won the California Book Award, the Northern California Book Award and the James Beard Award for best food writing, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Pollan’s other books include New York Times bestseller The Botany of Desire: A Plants-Eye View of the WorldA Place of My Own: The Education of an Amateur Builder; and Second Nature: A Gardeners Education.

Read The New York Times review of In Defense of Food: An Eaters Manifesto.