Monday, March 12, 2007


Last week we went to see Michael Pollan speak about his recent book, The Omnivore's Dilemma. As "nature writer who doesn't like camping", Michael Pollan researched the origins of the foods we eat. Taking a sometimes humorous, sometimes disburting look at four meals, he traces the ingredients back to their origins. The question that emerges through the book's uncovering of the environmental, economic and political dimensions of our meals is not the usual "what should eat?" but rather " How should we eat?"

For example, Michael Pollan's account of the use of corn in our diet (way beyond the high fructose corn syrup believe me!) leads him to quip that we are the corniest people on the planet. But beyond our unconscious love for everything corn, our new passion for ethanol is having global impact and not the kind advertised by car companies.

Needless to say, I was a little spooked when the next morning after the lecture, the Washington Post ran a story on the implications of rising cost of corn on the diet and businesses of Mexico (click here for article)

On the heels of Jubilee and our presentation on Wisdom at the Wilderness Education Association Conference, Joy and I have been thinking about how the stewardship we teach in the wilderness works itself out when we are back in the city. How does the "universal flourishing" of Shalom we seek to offer our students through adventure education, come to be lived out in the way we buy our food, cook our meals, and eat together?

Michael Pollan talked about a visit he made to Joel Salatin's farm in Virginia. Joel and his family have built a thriving farm on the model that God created the world and its creature to be in symbiotic relationships. His story is a facinating challenge to our individualistic culture where the environmental chickens may be coming home to roost (see Dead Zone in Gulf of Mexico or for NOAA's report on another cost of our "love" of corn)

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