Michael Pollan Predicts a Food Culture Revolution

Michael Pollan: We’re just at the beginning of something that’s going to be very big. And I think if we look in our food supply in 10 or 20 years, we’re going to be very surprised at how much change has come about.

That’s Michael Pollan, best known for his book The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Like others who have spoken with EarthSky about a hopeful future, Pollan believes we in the U.S. are due for a revolution in eating.

Michael Pollan: The problem is our current food culture is pretty lousy. You could call it the culture of fast food.

He spoke of public health issues – obesity, diabetes, heart disease – known to stem from poor eating. He spoke of food scandals related to the way certain foods are processed and prepared. And he predicts a future with more food choices.

Michael Pollan: Not everyone is going to change their diet. Many people can’t afford to. Many people are happy eating that way. Industrial food is not going to go away, but it’s going to get smaller. As organic rises, as local rises, all these things are going to get bigger, and there will be more alternatives. I’m not arguing that there’s one single kind of food chain that’s going to solve all our problems. We need a great many food chains. We want to have alternatives, just so we have choice.

Pollan’s latest book is called In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. It was published in early 2008.

Pollan said that the rise in farmers’ markets – and home gardening – will help shift the food culture, as people are exposed to more fresh foods.

Michael Pollan: As soon as you do that, you will wake up to the beauty of well grown produce and the tastefulness of it. You will take more care with it because it’s such gorgeous stuff, to treat it carelessly in the kitchen seems a crime. So you’ll start cooking. And cooking real food is really the beginning of health and happiness around food. When you cook, you’re not going to want to cook for yourself, you’re going to want to cook for other people. So you’re going to eat a meal with other people at a table. And that’s the beginning of a real revolution in our culture.