Thursday, July 27, 2006

Omnivore's Dilemma

I just finished "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan. What an interesting and thought-provoking book.

The first section takes you through the experience of eating and raising factory farmed animals and commodity crops. Pollan discusses how corn became this huge business and the dilemma corn farmers face because of government subsidies and programs that just exasperate the problem of low prices and overproduction. The descriptions of the feedlots made me glad I'm a vegetarian.

The second section was the most interesting to me. Pollan describes the practices of Polyface farm where animals are pasture raised. It was simply amazing to me the way this farm tried to mimic the cycles and habits of how animals naturally eat. By having cows graze a mixture of grasses, and then moving them to a new pasture, the land does not become overgrazed. Chickens follow the cows into pasture. They eat the bug larvae from the cow pats, enjoy the shorter grasses, and spread the seeds in their manure. It is particularly gratifying to note that animals raised in this way are healthy and there is no need for antibiotics and other drugs. Pollan also discuss the "big organics" and how that industry has changed since the demand has grown.

The last section discuss his experiences and hunting and killing his own meat and foraging for his food.

This is a great book to get you thinking about where you're food comes from and who you want producing it.