The Omnivore’s Dilemma: The Secrets Behind What You Eat

Based on Pollan’s best-selling adult book of the same title, this (slightly) shortened version will appeal to thoughtful, socially responsible teens. The book is divided into four sections: “The Industrial Meal” (exemplified by the fact that only two companies, Cargill and ADM, buy nearly a third of all the corn grown in the U.S.); “The Industrial Organic Meal” (covering most of what’s found in stores like Whole Foods); “Local Sustainable” (small farms typically based on grass, not corn); and what he calls the “Do-It-Yourself Meal” (where he hunts a wild pig and gathers wild mushrooms). Pollan has done an amazing amount of research, both of the typical kind (there are 16 pages of footnotes) and the more personal kind. His own research includes slaughtering a chicken himself and eating a fast-food meal in a moving car with his family. He explains complicated issues clearly, offers compelling evidence of the environmental damage done by what he calls the industrial meal, and urges readers not to look away from animal-welfare issues: “We can only decide if we know the truth.” An afterword, “Vote with Your Fork,” recommends simple actions that will improve the health of our bodies, our society, and our planet.