April 26, 2010
"Environmental rock star" Michael Pollan, author of best-selling books The Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food, and Food Rules, offered a lively and entertaining lecture on "The Sun Food Agenda."
Arriving with a double quarter-pounder with cheese in hand, Pollan walked the audience through recent food history, noting that since the 1940's the U.S. has moved from a solar based food system to one based on fossil fuels - including chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and the fuel for transport of animals and food commodities to central production facilities and distribution around the world. Using the quarter-pounder to drive home his point, he poured from a pitcher the amount of oil it took to produce the hamburger - 26 ounces.
Contrasting current fossil fuel-based agriculture, Pollan shared examples of organic farming systems, featured in The Omnivore's Dilemma, that were efficient and built "on a solar basis." He lauded the law school for starting its own community garden and encouraged others in the audience to do the same. Pollan concluded his presentation with his mantra for healthy eating: "Eat real food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
Pollan's presentation was the culminating event of the University of the Pacific's first "Sustainability Month," as well as the capstone of McGeorge's Earth Day observance, which also included dedication of the new McGeorge Community Garden, an Earth Day Sustainability Fair and Barbecue, and the announcement of a new Environmental Law Concentration and faculty approval of a new course, Special Topics in Environmental Law.