In my hometown of Toronto, Michael Pollan is a hipster gOD.
His mantra to Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. is spoken with reverence by those Torontonians with a social conscience and enough disposable income to live organic, green and sustainable.
And it isn’t only Toronto. From what I have heard, this new breed of Agri-Intellectuals can be found in every city in North America and beyond.
In fact, according to the most recent census data, Agri-Intellectuals are America’s fastest growing ethnic population.
And that’s great for Michael Pollan’s book sales.
But, not so great for conventional farmers.
And they’re starting to get a little pissed off.
This past July, farmer Blake Hurst penned this article.
In the article, Mr Hurst disputes a number of the anti-Big Ag arguments raised by Michael Pollan and other Agri-Intellectual deities.
He reminds us that “farming has always been messy and painful, and bloody and dirty. It still is. This is something the critics of industrial farming never seem to understand”.
He goes on to say that “farmers have reasons for their actions, and society should listen to them as we embark upon this reappraisal of our agricultural system.
“I use chemicals and diesel fuel to accomplish the tasks my grandfather used to do with sweat, and I use a computer instead of a lined notebook and a pencil, but I’m still farming the same land he did 80 years ago, and the fund of knowledge that our family has accumulated about our small part of Missouri is valuable”.
And everything I know and I have learned tells me this: we have to farm “industrially” to feed the world, and by using those “industrial” tools sensibly, we can accomplish that task and leave my grandchildren a prosperous and productive farm, while protecting the land, water, and air around us”.
Please note that this is only a small portion of the article. Please read the rest.
And when you do read the article, keep in mind that way back in 1995, farmer Hurst asked congress to end crop subsidies. At that time, Hurst was quoted as saying that “government farm programs have fleeced taxpayers and stifled farmers’ ingenuity and profits”.
This is not a man content to sit back and let the government nor the Agri-Intellectuals tell him how to do his job.
And he’s not alone.
Last Thursday, Michael Pollan was invited to speak about his book, In Defense of Food to an audience of 8000 at the U of Wisconsin.
Luckily, it was all very…civilized.
(media hates civilized protests)
On Friday, the protest continued when the U of W held a panel discussion involving Pollan, a U of W student and two farmers.
I can’t find any video of the event, but according to this review of the panel discussion, the U of W student took the position of Big Ag and went right at Pollan.
She covered the typical Big Ag talking points:
Pollan responded by:
North American food production is becoming an even more important topic as we attempt to climb out of the global recession and hope to reverse current trends in obesity and healthcare.
Now if only the policymakers can act half as civilized as Michael Pollan & the folks from In Defense of Farmers.
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