Thursday, April 8, 2010

Michael Pollen to Speak / April 14, 2010

On food, ag animal production, meat, health, sustainability and everything inbetween.

Michael Pollan—the bestselling author, journalist, activist, and well-known critic of the global industrial food complex—will appear at Goucher College as the Spring 2010 Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Visiting Professor. His lecture, “In Defense of Food: The Omnivore’s Solution,” will be held on Tuesday, April 13, at 8 p.m. in Kraushaar Auditorium.

There will be a book signing following the lecture, and books will be available for purchase.

Due to high demand no more tickets are available for this event. However, you may view a live video of the talk online at

For the past 20 years, Michael Pollan has been writing books and articles about the places where the human and natural worlds intersect: food, agriculture, gardens, drugs, and architecture.

His most recent book, Food Rules, was published earlier this year and was an immediate No. 1 New York Times bestseller. This short work is a condensed version of his previous efforts, including his bestselling books In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto (2008) and The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (2006).

In his In Defense of Food, Pollan postulates that the answer to healthy eating is simply to “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants,” and he argues that rather than focusing on eating nutrients, people should focus on eating the sort of food their ancestors would recognize. The book was No. 1 on the New York Times Non-Fiction Bestseller List for six weeks.

In The Omnivore’s Dilemma, he describes four basic ways in which human societies have obtained food: the current industrial system, the big organic operation, the local self-sufficient farm, and the hunter-gatherer. In the book, he argues that “industrial eating” obscures crucially important ecological relationships and ultimately harms humans’ health.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma was named one of the 10 best books of 2006 by The New York Times and The Washington Post. It also won the James Beard Award for best food writing and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Pollan’s previous book, The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World (2001), was also a New York Times bestseller, and it was recognized as a best book of the year by the American Booksellers Association and PBS premiered a two-hour special documentary based on the book in fall 2009.

He is also the author of A Place of My Own (1997) and Second Nature (1991).

He has been a contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine since 1987, and his writing has received numerous awards, including the James Beard Award for best magazine series in 2003, the John Burroughs prize for the best natural history essay in 1997, the 2000 Reuters-I.U.C.N. Global Award for Environmental Journalism for his reporting on genetically modified crops, and the 2003 Humane Society of the United States’ Genesis Award for his writing on animal agriculture.

In addition to being published regularly in The New York Times Magazine, Pollan's articles have appeared in Harper’s (where he served for many years as executive editor), Mother Jones, Gourmet, Vogue, Travel + Leisure, Gardens Illustrated, and The Nation. His essays have appeared in many anthologies, including Best American Essays (1990 and 2003), Best American Science Writing (2004), and the Norton Book of Nature Writing.

In 2009 Newsweek magazine named Pollan one of the top 10 “New Thought Leaders.”

In 2003, he was appointed the John S. and James L. Knight Professor of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism and the director of the Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism. In addition to teaching, he lectures widely on food, agriculture, and gardening.

Pollan was educated at Bennington College, Oxford University, and Columbia University, from which he received a master’s in English.

The Jane and Robert Meyerhoff Visiting Professorship was created to bring distinguished scholars, teachers, and practitioners to Goucher’s campus to advance local and national dialogues on pressing issues of our time. Previous speakers have included staunch preservation advocate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.; Thomas L. Friedman, the three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and world-renowned author; and Dr. Wangari Muta Maathai, the Kenyan environmental and political activist who, in 2004, became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

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