February 15, 2011

Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser dish it out

These days, we expect everything of significance to be recorded and made available on on the Internet, so I’m thankful for GOOD Magazine food editor Nicola Twilley’s written recap of an event I assumed I’d find online. (Maybe later it’ll turn up.) My favourite author, Michael Pollan (In Defense of Food), and Fast Food Nation author Eric Schlosser had a fascinating conversation with Evan Kleiman (host of KCRW’s Good Food) that managed to shock and inform me despite all the knowledge I’ve accumulated about food issues. What stood out most for me was this:

When Evan Kleiman asked whether a sustainable food system could feed the world, Pollan was quick to point out that “we’re not feeding the world with the system we currently have.” Schlosser added that the problem is not one of production, but rather distribution: “We live in a world where a billion people are hungry and another billion are obese, and only between 12 and 14 percent of the food we grow is actually eaten by people.” (75 percent is fed to livestock, and of the remaining 25 percent, roughly half is wasted along the way, he elaborated.)

Wow. Pollan’s blunt remark spelling out what should be an obvious truth pulls the rug out from under our system’s fundamental theory. Schlosser’s statistics are at the same time utterly tragic and darkly ironic.

And this revelation from Pollan reminded me of The 100-Mile Diet‘s account of the time spent on gathering and preparing food now versus 50 or 1000 years ago: “Over the past decade, we’ve somehow found 2 extra hours each day to be online, but we say we don’t have time to cook.” Indeed. (Zing.)

Read the rest of it at GOOD with links to further recaps.

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