“Gardens are very powerful things”


On the PBS show Bill Moyers Journal last night, Michael Pollan was asked how regular people can fight the impact of agribusiness and eat better food, and here’s my favorite part of his answer:

POLLAN: Make yourself a real producer. Put in a garden. I mean, that is not a trivial thing. You know, it sounds kind of sweet and old lady-like. But gardens are very powerful things.

MOYERS: How so? What do you mean? Powerful things.

POLLAN: Not only will you discover that a very small plot of land, my garden now is only 10 foot by 20 foot, produces so much produce, I need to give it away. I have to spend time figuring out how to get rid of it. So you will actually get some of the healthiest, freshest food you can possibly get. It is the shortest food chain of all. But it teaches certain habits of mind that I think are really, really important.

Btw, Pollan was interviewed for the whole hour, and here’s the transcript.


  1. Since the Garden Bloggers Book Club read one of Pollan’s earliest works, it is gratifying to read him now and see how far he’s come. He is so right. Gardens are powerful things which transform us in so many ways.~~Dee

  2. I thought that was a good interview and liked his quote: >>My path was through the garden. I was a gardener. And I loved gardening from a very young age. And I grew – I like growing food for myself. And that’s where I learned about, you know, these kind of things…<< However, his assertion that the USDA pushes ag industry food overages into our school kid's lunches just does not ring true from what I'm familiar with - at least not from what I know of in my local county school systems and how their lunch menus are planned and purchased. I would like to see his proof and figures behind this claim.

  3. I really enjoy hearing and reading a Pollan interview.
    His last interview on NPR rallied me to go to my local library to check out his book the Omnivores Dilemma.

    I’m embarrassed to say that I did not make it through the book by the end of the library due date and was not inspired enough by it to re-check it out to finish it.
    I love hearing Pollan’s views and find thoughtful information in his research but for some reason I just could not get into his book.
    Maybe I should try again in another few months, but did anybody else have a hard time getting through the book ?
    On a positive note, It sure helped with my insomnia.

  4. Thank you. That is really inspiring. I’m changing ideas for one area of my garden now. Did I find this site on GardenRant – http://www.serveyourcountryfood.net/? If not, it is a new site showing where young farmers are located in the U.S. As more are added to the map, it will be easier to shop at the farmer’s house. I’d support Pollan for Ag Sec.

  5. Pollan’s first book is the marvelous Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education. It’s right up there with Joan Dye Gussow’s This Organic Life as the 2 garden books I couldn’t live without. I liked Pollan’s part of the interview but Bill Moyers was making me crazy — I know it’s his job but his gee-whiz middle-American skepticism about changing the food system really annoyed me.

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