More on Local Food


Okay, if we’re going to cover the coverage of the organic+local food movement – there does finally seem to be a movement – we should mention this recent article by Michael Pollan, a pioneer on the subject, or direct you to his blog for updates on this important front.

And if you haven’t seen this good news for front-yard farmers in Sacramento, check it out and thanks to Angela for reporting it.


  1. I read the Pollan article a couple days ago, and while I’ve always thought there was a link between the cheap price of junk food and obesity in low-income people, I didn’t know the farm bill subsidized (made cheaper) a lot of the crops that go into making junk food.

    It also partly explains why it’s so hard for people with gluten intolerance (like me) to find food that doesn’t have some kind of gluten in it, wheat or otherwise.

    As for Pollan’s blog, it’s behind the TimesSelect firewall.

    Talk about using a blog to make money … !

  2. Firefly, I’m sorry to hear that only Times Select subscribers can access POllan’s blog. I love the content behind that firewall, so I pay the $50 a year.
    You know, I put hish blog in our sidebar. Let me know if you can read it.

  3. I am enjoying Pollen’s book, ‘The Omnivore’s Dilemma’. It is an eyeopener concerning the origin of most of our food. Very scary. I did note that RI has one of the lowest farm subsidies, if not the lowest, which is probably due to the size of the state but also there are many in this state who would prefer it to be all urban! I have heard that several times. On a better note, there is a new publication which I picked up just a few days ago which celebrates locally grown produce and meat and dairy products.

  4. Pollan also has works that relate more directly to gardening. I enjoyed Botany of Desire and Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education. He also worked with a publisher to put some garden classics back in print and wrote introductions to them. I’m working my way through one now from the late ’70s, I think, Green thoughts: A writer in the garden by Eleanor Perényi, a former Mademoiselle and Harpers Bazaar editor.

    I was a little hazy on the series details. Here’s the scoop straight from the Random House site:

    Michael Pollan is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Botany of Desire and Second Nature, named one of the best gardening books of the twentieth century by the American Horticultural Society. … Pollan chose the books for the Modern Library Gardening series because, as he writes, “these writers are some of the great talkers in the rich, provocative, and frequently uproarious conversation that, metaphorically at least, has been taking place over the back fence of our gardens at least since the time of Pliny.”

    Has anyone read any of the others in this series?

  5. I liked Second Nature very much. Though I agree with the concerns, I am less interested in the work on the politics of farming.

    I will definitely be ordering some of the books in this series, some of which I have heard of, but none of which I have read.

  6. I would highly recommend The Botany of Desire. It is a thought provoking work concerning man’s interaction with the development of four genus of plants. Michael Pollen is a gifted writer and is always on my list.

  7. I had hoped the Michael Pollan sidebar here would be a ‘back door’ to his blog, but it links to an article written back in June. Rats!

  8. It is too bad the Times put Pollan behind their firewall, but even the link in the sidebar leads to a dead end if you aren’t a subscriber.

    (I’d pay the $50 too if it didn’t include “flat earther” Tom Friedman …)

  9. Yes, and Pollan also mentions–guess what?–the tortilla crisis in Mexico, as foisted upon that country by NAFTA and U.S. subsidized corn.

    Thanks so much, Susan, for mentioning it again.

    For the Pollan article in NYT mag, try going here:

    The other related thing going on now is the “Penny-wise Eat Local” food challenge, or tying to be more friendly to the planet by eating locally, and, even more, trying to do it without spending a fortune.

    Look for more details here:

  10. It’s great that Michael Pollan and Modern Library decided to revive a handful of gardening books with literary merit. There aren’t loads of those.

    I bought the Charles Dudley Warner one a few years ago–and sadly, didn’t find it intesting enough to get very far. Maybe it was my mood more than the book.

    Eleanor Perenyi’s Green Thoughts, however, is a real classic. She’s one of the most delicious writers ever to take up gardening as a subject. And I love how little bull there is–she talks about being completely incapable of understanding pruning instructions, for example, and winding up enraged when she tries.

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