Michael Pollan Lecture ‘Sold Out’…Still want to go? Get on the waiting list

| September 25, 2007

If you haven’t gotten your tickets for the Michael Pollan lecture on Oct. 9, you might be too late. As of Sept. 25, all 652 seats in Murchison Lane Auditorium – with the exception of some on hold for the media – have been reserved.

A waiting list has been set up for those who would still like to attend. To be put on the list, contact Shelbie Filson at [email protected]
or 381-6228.

Michael Pollan

Pollan, author of the New York Times bestseller “The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals,” will present this year’s Julia B. Waxter Environmental Forum at Sweet Briar College.

The lecture, titled “The Omnivore’s Dilemma: Searching for the Perfect Meal in a Fast Food World,” will begin at 7 p.m. A book signing and reception will follow.

In his book, Pollan embarks on four decidedly diverse dining experiences: McDonald’s take-out, a meal consisting of items purchased at Whole Foods, a chicken dinner from a Virginia farm that eschews pesticides, antibiotics and synthetic fertilizers, and a feast of wild hog hunted and killed by the author.

Pollan’s main target, however, is corn, the ubiquitous foodstuff that finds its way into nearly everything that passes our lips.

On page 18, he writes, “Corn is what feeds the steer that becomes the steak. Corn feeds the chicken and the pig, the turkey and the lamb, the catfish and the tilapia, and increasingly, even the salmon, a carnivore by nature that the fish farmers are reengineering to tolerate corn.

“The eggs are made of corn. The milk and cheese and yogurt, which once came from dairy cows that grazed on grass, now typically come from Holsteins that spend their working lives indoors tethered to machines, eating corn.”

According to Pollan, more than a quarter of the items in America’s supermarkets contain corn. “You are what you eat, it’s often said, and if this is true, then what we mostly are is corn – or more precisely, processed corn,” he writes.

Pollan blames corn, particularly high-fructose corn syrup, for the increase in obesity, diabetes and other health problems. He’s also no fan of the recent hoopla about ethanol.

“We grow more than 10 billion bushels of corn a year in this country, far more than we can possibly eat – though God knows we’re doing our best, bingeing on corn-based fast food and high fructose corn syrup till we’re fat and diabetic,” Pollan wrote May 24 on his blog.

“We probably can’t eat much more of the stuff without exploding, so the corn lobby is targeting the next unsuspecting beast that might help chomp through the surplus: your car.”

The Seattle Times called Pollan’s book a “searing indictment of today’s food industry.” Eric Schlosser, author of “Fast Food Nation,” praised Pollan for his “great wit and intelligence,” adding, “Eating well, he finds, can be a pleasurable way to change the world.”

The Waxter Forum is funded by SBC alumna Julia Baldwin Waxter and her husband, Bill. The series presents lectures focusing on environmental issues and concerns that affect today’s world.

For more information, contact Rob Alexander, associate professor of environmental studies, at [email protected] or 381-6451. For media inquiries, contact Suzanne Ramsey at[email protected] or 381-6388.

— Suzanne Ramsey

Category: Environmental Science, Environmental Studies