A Plant's Eye View

Learn about corn's scheme to take over the world, and lots of other stuff in this thought-provoking, roughly 17-minute TED video of Michael Pollan giving a talk called "The Omnivore's Next Dilemma". I think we can all agree that in the US, our food production and distribution system is seriously broken. Too many chemicals, too much fossil fuel, and too much pollution--and food that's really not especially healthy. And that's just for starters. Did you know the average item on the shelf at your grocery story traveled 1,500 miles to get there? Industrial farming is not the solution, it's the problem. Darn few folks have devoted much mental energy to developing new models for agriculture. Michael Pollan, a terrific writer on the subjects of gardening, growing things and how the food we eat gets too our plate, has thought about this a lot, and his ideas are fascinating. If you haven't read his "Botany of Desire" or "The Omnivore's Dilemma"--or even if you have--take a look at what he has to say.

TED, by the way, stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. They host an aunnual conference which brings together an eclectic global consortium of thinkers and doers on the cutting edge of science, art. writing, or whatever to present "the talk of their lives"--usually in 20 minutes or less. More than 200 video presentations are available free at the TED site. I think it's one of the most incredible repositories of ideas on the Internet. And did I mention it's FREE? Check it out.

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