Policy Talk Was Dinner’s Entrée at Oberlin College

A few days before
Election Day, I had the privilege of eating dinner with Marvin Krislov,
President of Oberlin College, and Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's
, who was the College’s convocation speaker that evening. Over a
low-carbon diet meal prepared by Bon Appétit's team at Oberlin, Michael
discussed some of the nuances of his "Farmer in Chief" article
(NYTimes, 10/12/08). In that piece – a compelling read even at 8000 words – he argued
that the next president would have to remake food policy organized around a
re-regionalized 'solar food' system if he were to achieve stated goals of
energy independence, reduction in health care costs, and mitigating climate
change. Other writers – most recently in the November issue of Wired Magazine –
are still churning out the tired points that our food system can only be
"saved" (and the world population fed) by emphasizing yield per
square foot using 'technology.' Notwithstanding the president-elect's clear
campaign promises to support family farms and organic production methods, the world, general public, and
Congress especially will need to be convinced of Pollan's solid case. Check out
my column in the Sustainable Industries Journal (for whom I’m now a regular
columnist) on this subject.

– Helene York, Director of the Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation