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Customer Review

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good questions, but no solution, 28 May 2009
This review is from: The Omnivore's Dilemma: The Search for a Perfect Meal in a Fast-food World (Paperback)
The Omnivore's Dilemma borrows its title from a 1970s study that observed that prehistoric man, being an omnivore, could eat pretty much everything it found in nature, but that at the same time, many plants and fungi were actually toxic. So how did man know what to eat and what not? The modern omnivore faces a different dilemma: a decent sized supermarket has more food than you can imagine, but where does it come from? What is actually in a microwave dinner? How was the cow treated that gave you your steak?

In answering these questions, Pollan dives deep into the inner workings of industrialised farming, and what he finds there, makes for some grim reading. In addition, Pollan shows that organic farming too, is often more of a marketing trick than, well, organic farming.

But The Omnivore's Dilemma is more than an attack on the agro-industrial complex. Pollan teaches us about true organic farming, discusses the ethics of eating meat and explains the surprising appeal of hunting.

Most people will be drawn to this book because of what it says about industrial farming. Pollan, like other authors, spends a great deal of time telling us what's wrong about it, and he can't resist the temptation to blame a lot of it on capitalism. You know, the line about how people really don't want to buy microwave dinners, or vegetables from Argentina, but are forced to buy them by big multinationals. What Pollan does not do, however, is come up with an alternative to industrialised farming. Earth currently has over 6 bn people and they have to be fed somehow. How to do that in a sustainable way, is the next omnivore's dilemma. Perhaps one Pollan can tackle in his next book.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 28 Jul 2009 11:18:14 BDT
A. Olson says:
Actually, he DOES propose an alternative to industrialised farming, which is quite clear in the section featuring Polyface farms.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Aug 2009 11:21:11 BDT
The point I was making, is that organic farmig, the Polyface way, can't feed the current world population. Either you come up with a solution that does (Pollan doesn't provide one) or you admid that the world population needs to shrink (Pollan doesn't offer himself or his family as volunteers).
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