Fab Cab Follow Up: Michael Pollan

Monday, November 17, 2008

Food writer Michael Pollan got numerous mentions for Agriculture Secretary in the BL Show Fab-Cab nomination process. He discusses what food policy he'd like to see under the Obama administration.


Michael Pollan

Comments [34]

Kathi from Manhattan

No wonder listeners have been clamoring for this guy! He's got a serious grip. If Obama doesn't appoint Pollan I hope he at least downloads the contents of Pollan's brain at some point. ;) Just signed the petition.

Nov. 17 2008 07:46 PM
warren neth from Vancouver, WA.

My botany desires Michael Pollan as Secretary of Agriculture!

Sign the online petition to request that Barack Obama appoint Michael Pollan to the Office of Secretary of Agriculture of the United States of America. Michael Pollan knows the steps it would take to lead us through the major transformations toward food security in the U.S.. Obama will need a strong social movement to back and pressure him to take the progressive steps during this time of crisis. Signing this online petition to make Michael Pollan Secretary of Agriculture is one netroots tool to keep the pressure on.

Read and sign the petition here:

If you're a facebooker:

Also the Obama/Biden Transition team is asking for input on new staff and agenda:

Might as well take the opportunity to send in all our green dreams. I've taken the opportunity to push for Michael Pollan. It's crunch time for putting pressure on Obama for choosing his cabinet. Hope you're able to take the time to write a few good ideas their way.


Nov. 17 2008 06:43 PM
LeoinNYC from Soho

Doing mixed animal ag CAN be sustainable but it usually isn't. The caveats to making it truly less resource intensive are many. When you think about the resources (water, especially) that go into raising animals -- years of feeding and care. Transportation and slaughtering, etc. etc. All at the level you need to to keep animal agriculture profitable -- it's very hard to do. You see a lot of attractive keywords attached to meat and dairy -- "organic," "free-range," "local." But most are ultimately variations on a fundamentally intensive, un-sustainable model. I have no doubt that there are farmers out there doing great things with sustainable animal ag farms (cruelty-issues aside) but most people won't go looking for them, and there certainly aren't enough around here to meet demand.

Nov. 17 2008 02:24 PM
hjs from 11211

no agreement here. where can i get FACTS?

Nov. 17 2008 01:31 PM
anonyme from midtown manhattan

Leon it's not true taht dark leafy veggies are more sustainable and less resource intensive - ask the genius mixed-farmer Joel Salatin. (Great section on him in the Omnivore's dilemma)

Nov. 17 2008 12:47 PM

xlent point agree leo/12

Nov. 17 2008 12:43 PM
LeoinNYC from Soho

Why not skip the yogurt and cheese and go straight to the dark, leafy green vegetables. More sustainable and less resource intensive.

Nov. 17 2008 12:33 PM

I would like to clarify that I don't think cheese is bad for you. I think that what Pollan was speaking out about on the milk front was the fact that the industry has convinced us that it is the ONLY way to get calcium. I personally choose yogurt and cheese from pasture raised animals, and try to buy from farmers I know. That way I cut out the middleman who has an interest in keeping us ill-informed about what it is that I might be ingesting, because when you don't want to know the price is cheap.

Let them eat cheese, yogurt and drink raw milk too! Awareness is the most important thing.

Nov. 17 2008 11:57 AM
Nancy Sinkoff from NYC

Whether Michael Pollan becomes the Agriculture chief, he -- and the rest of us -- need to advocate for more systematic urban gardening, particularly through greenhouses. There is no reason why those of us with smaller carbon footprints (urban denizens) cannot grow our own food and minimize the negative impact of shipping food from CA and the Midwest to the Northeast.

Nov. 17 2008 11:50 AM
anonyme from midtown manhattan

Dave and Paula - cheese is not bad for you, if it's really cheese! Unprocessed (best unpasteurized) cheese is full of enzymes for your digestion that help you absorb the other goodies in the cheese.

Real salt is something you need to grind yourself - regular salt in the store is so chenically processed it is not just worthless it is harmful!

Good food and its preparation have to becoem a priority of those who eat!!!

Nov. 17 2008 11:48 AM

Bloomberg and Scott Stringer are having a Food Policy Conference on Weds at Columbia, so at least the city is willing to talk about these issues and inform themselves.

Nov. 17 2008 11:43 AM
anonyme from midtown manhattan

And fats are not bad for you, we need them!!! processed, heated, or rancid fats are bad for you but you need to find out what they are! Read Mary Enig to find out about fats. lots of info at

Nov. 17 2008 11:42 AM

Dave from Brooklyn, "Who cares if it's good for you" is exactly the problem with our food system. As a taxpayer I care that you care, because we are spending 250 billion on people like you who don't eat right and get higher rates of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc. You may not like being told what to eat, but we are only hurting the country by staying fat and clueless.

Nov. 17 2008 11:40 AM
anonyme from midtown manhattan

Also Mike Bloomberg doesn't know enough about nutrition to be making policy on it! And food is not just its name - does the milk and does the butter come from cows who grazed in the sunshine? What is the plant uptaking from the chemically fertilized soil (for example tobacco takes up polonium, the stuff that killed the russian in London) when it's grown non-organically and that makes a dose of it as radioactive as several chest x-rays. We really do have an evil empire at work in our lives becaue our food can be just as lethal. We have to organize if we want affordable, organic food.

Nov. 17 2008 11:39 AM

"Sally Fallon suggests that we reinstate home economics in school to teach people the difference between food and crap"

I love this idea, but the program needs rebranding. ;) Either make it a required course, or find incentives to give it appeal to kids from a variety of backgrounds.

Nov. 17 2008 11:36 AM
anonyme from midtown manhattan

People diagnosed with MS stopped drinking diet soda and their symptoms disappeared. Aspartame is a nerve toxin. People need to read about what they are beign sold at every level.

Nov. 17 2008 11:32 AM
anonyme from midtown manhattan

Also waht about market wisdom, like all those 70s co-ops adn the aughties buying clubs?

Sally Fallon suggests that we reinstate home economics in school to teach people the difference between food and crap

Nov. 17 2008 11:29 AM
anonyme from midtown manhattan

Hi Michael

I'm your biggest fan but you make me crazy when you don't specify - raw milk is excellent and available the same way we went to food co-ops in the 70s - Good salt gives you iodine and trace minerals

Nov. 17 2008 11:27 AM
Deb from Larchmont

I'd like to add to the economic link discussion - I've long thought that McD's and the pharma industry are in a unrecognized symbiotic relationship - eat poorly, get high colesterol, use expensive prescription drugs to manage your health - so you can continue to eat at McD's without risk. And then send your kids to college and grad school to get MBA's and earn their living in the financial industry (managing our retirement accounts - invested in pharma stocks, of course, which are ususally a safe bet) or in marketing, thinking up and selling us yet another flavor of oreo cookie and new Burger King menu items. And so it goes -- the web is even more intricate than appears on even a paused glance!

Nov. 17 2008 11:26 AM
rachel from new haven, ct

Do most farmer's markets take food stamps? I live in New Haven, CT and there is a flourishing farmers market culture here and they all take food stamps-i see lots of people here using them at the markets.

Nov. 17 2008 11:26 AM


Nov. 17 2008 11:25 AM
Steve from Brooklyn

What's more healthy, soda or beer?

Nov. 17 2008 11:25 AM
LeoinNYC from Soho

To everyone who signed that petition: Yay Michael Pollan, but put your money where your mouth is: Eat Local, Go Vegan. On so many of these issues we all wait for a knight in shining armor to come along and save us. Well this is one where it is pretty easy to do the right. Make a little sacrifice, learn to live a little differently. Be healthier. Help the planet (and the animals). Let go of that sense of entitlement.

Nov. 17 2008 11:25 AM
Stephen from bklyn

Interestingly unfoods, such as soda, are not taxed in New York.

Nov. 17 2008 11:25 AM
Dale from Brooklyn

But we get cheese from milk. Who cares if it's bad for you. ;)

Nov. 17 2008 11:24 AM
Leah from NY

So many people are being caught up in the locavore movement. Some are changing their diets; some want to go even further and are thinking of taking up the farming lifestyle. I would wonder what policies Pollan would promote to help and educate new farmers in setting up small family farms that rely on the sun and sustainable practices.

Nov. 17 2008 11:24 AM

Many years ago I collected food stamps for about 9 months. I had absolutely no problem creating healthy meals on what I was allocated, but I realize this isn't always the case. During the food stamp "class," we were given pamphlets with abysmal tips and recipes...I'd love to see a celebrity chef volunteer some time to create delicious recipes for FS recipients on a budget.

Nov. 17 2008 11:24 AM

I'd like to hear Michael's response to the commercials regarding HFCS - what do they say about high fructose corn syrup?

Nov. 17 2008 11:21 AM
Owen from Rochester

Mr. Pollan--I'm a big fan (I signed the petition), but I REALLY wish you would address the extremely difficult position for farmworkers in this country and what policies should be changed to make these jobs, which feed us all, more humane and just. Please address this point. Thanks.

Nov. 17 2008 11:21 AM
Moiz Kapadia from NJ


Can you ask your guest what he thinks about the viability of urban agriculture?


Nov. 17 2008 11:18 AM
upgrayedd from Flushing

as long as the late earl butz is being talked about, i have to toss this out there:

it's a clip from an otherwise forgettable comedy pastiche movie based on his famous quote about what african americans wanted, leading to his resignation:

Nov. 17 2008 11:16 AM

Prof. Pollan:

Do you approve of USDA organic standards?

If you were Ag chief would you change them and if so how?

For instance, fertilizers made from the waste from our sewers -- which include waste from humans but also household chemicals, pharmaceuticals, etc -- are classified as USDA organic. Is this correct? Yuck!

Nov. 17 2008 11:16 AM

I believe in eating local and organic. It being November & me being in NY, I am already sick of eating kale and pumpkin, and blackberry jam. Therefore I propose we all move to Berkeley too.

Nov. 17 2008 11:12 AM
bridget from west village

everyone knows that eating healthy, organic produce is better for you than eating what pollan calls "food products". after reading pollan's latest book, i am left wondering if he has any solutions for implementing this on a nation-wide level, and for making it affordable by the masses?

the right moves are easy to make for people who have the money, but how do you make it feasible for someone who has $5 a day to feed their child, and can get that done at mcdonald's?

Nov. 17 2008 10:51 AM

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