Michael Pollan Case Study

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1. Explain why Michael Pollan finds the questions “What am I eating? And where in the world did it come from?” so difficult to answer.

Michael Pollan finds this question so difficult because all food is made up of other foods, mostly corn. On page 17, he states, "any food whose provenance is so complex or obscure that is requires expert help to ascertain." He continues the rest of the chapter talking about how most foods have traces of corn in them, by following the industrial food chain. All foods by the FDA must have their ingredients posted on the wrapper, so buyers know exactly what they are eating. Michael Pollan knows he has to look at the wrapper and see where all those ingredients are from to really see where the food he is about to came from.

2. Pollan describes American farmers today as “the
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Explain why Pollan has a problem with the way the American government subsidizes farms, particularly those that grow corn.

Pollan does not agree with how the government is just paying off the farmers and not helping the situation of subsidies and falling prices. Pollan does not like how the farmers are treated different from any other food processors or exporters in the food business. The farmers are the ones that are taking the beating with the bad economy and instead of fixing it; the government just pays them off.

4. Discuss the role cheap fossil fuel plays in determining the way American farmers grow corn. Explain why Pollan might characterize the availability of cheap corn as a “plague”.

The cheap fossil fuels are killing the economy, killing the chances for corn. Pollan characterizes the availability of cheap corn as a plague because a plague is an infectious disease that harms a lot of people. The cheap corn impacted millions of farmers, degraded the land, polluted the water, and bleed out the federal treasury with the subsidies. All of these factors were killing the farmers as well as the economy, just as a plague kills people and their

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