Alternative Radio on 08/06/08
Michael Pollan speaks on The Cornification of Food (lecture)
Michael Pollan, professor of journalism at the University of
California at Berkeley, is a contributing writer to the "New York
Times Magazine." He is the author of "The Botany of Desire." His "The
Omnivore's Dilemma" was selected as one of the ten best books of 2006
by the "New York Times."
The elephant inside our food system and even beyond is corn. Its
presence is pervasive and dominant. It is an integral part of
industrialized agriculture and the industrialized food chain.
Processed food relies heavily on corn. Take a look at any wrapper or
can and see for yourself. Cows fatten up on corn. It contributes to
obesity in humans. And growing it? Not so good. It consumes
prodigious amounts of fossil fuel energy. And corn turns out to be a
major reason why farmers in Mexico go broke and migrate to the U.S.
Under NAFTA, American taxpayer subsidized corn is dumped in Mexico at
below market prices. Mexican farmers can't compete. More than two
million of them have been thrown off the land.