Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Omnivore's Dilemma, cont'd

So, I've gotten further into The Omnivore's Dilemma, and I've finally gotten to the "hopeful" part of the book. After Pollan discussed "traditional" (industrial) organic food, he paid a visit to a farm in Virginia (called Polyface Farm) which practices an interesting brand of what I guess is organic, and at the same time actively promotes locavorism. (Is that even a word?)
Anyway, what it means is that the farm in question grows chickens, cows, pork, vegetables, etc, but what it really practices is pasture management. For example, the cows are solely grass-fed, and they get rotated over each pasture. When they graze, they contribute manure. After they get moved off a section of pasture, the chickens are brought in to scratch for grubs in the manure, which both controls flies and helps contribute nitrogen to the soil, which fertilizes the grass.
There other examples in the book, but what it boils down to is a more holistic form of farming, and apparently the food generated is great (at least according to the author).
I've been thinking about getting a CSA (community supported agriculture) subscription next year, and reading this section definitely provides added motivation.

The last section of the book concerns "foraging", and I'm kind of rushing through this part of the book. It's not that it's not interesting, but parts of this section were excerpted in the NY Times, and honestly, it's very relevant. I mean, I can eat locally. I can't really forage for my dinner, and other than maybe learning how to hunt mushrooms, I'm not all that interested in hunting.

Any way, it's a good "food book", and while it can be a little preachy at times about how bad Americans eat, it's enjoyable.

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