Last night before I went to the Wheeler Centre to hear Michael Pollan speak about food politics I had a Berocca. In the talk Pollan used a bag of groceries from Woolworths to illustrate the points he was making, and at one point he pulled Berocca out of it.
Pollan is a Professor of Science Journalism and the author of several food politics books. The talk drew on the ideas contained in his books. In The Omnivore’s Dilemma (2007) Pollan visits Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farm, (a self-regulating, small-scale farm that doesn’t use chemicals or antibiotics), and traces the industrialisation of the food supply to Earl Butz, Nixon’s secretary of agriculture, who encouraged large-scale farming. Before Butz America had a New Deal farm policy that limited crop surplus and maintained a good price for farmers. Butz dismantled the New Deal farm and installed a new system to subsidise farmers. The policies were “rewritten to encourage farmers to plant crops like corn, soy, and wheat fencerow to fencerow.”