Week 8: The Omnivore’s Dilemma Discussion Response Discussion 8.1 OD (134-184) – Group 3 Jeannie ChiuFrom 1010 unread replies.1010 replies. Discussion 8

Week 8: The Omnivore’s Dilemma Discussion Response Discussion 8.1 OD (134-184) – Group 3
Jeannie ChiuFrom

1010 unread replies.1010 replies.

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Week 8: The Omnivore’s Dilemma Discussion Response Discussion 8.1 OD (134-184) – Group 3 Jeannie ChiuFrom 1010 unread replies.1010 replies. Discussion 8
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Discussion 8.1: Week 8: The Omnivore’s Dilemma (134-184)

Answer ONE of the following questions that has not been answered by a previous poster, unless they have all been answered once already. It should help you to do the reading assigned before answering these questions. Also post a paragraph response to one of the other postings by your classmates. Make clear which comment you are responding to. You may agree, disagree, ask a question, or try to come up with a transition connecting two of the ideas in different postings. Please post by Fri. 3/22 at midnight.

Choice 1: Write a brief summary of section 1, “Supermarket Pastoral” (134-). What is he saying about the packaging, rhetoric (language used to persuade, but possibly lacking in content or sincerity), and marketing of products in a store like Whole Foods? Referring to your own kitchen, find a product, whether organic or not, and analyze the story presented by its packaging and labelling.

Choice 2: Write a brief summary of section two “From People’s Park to Petaluma Poultry” (140-). What were the origins of the organic movement and principles? How did this tie into the well-known movements, especially in Berkeley, in the 1960s? How did organic, from its roots, eventually “‘[morph] into the way the world is'” (158) according to Gene Kahn, founder of Cascadian Farm, which was bought out by food giant General Mills?

Choice 3: Write a brief summary of section 3 “Down on the Industrial Farm” (158-). What does Pollan discover about the industrial organic farms he visits? What tensions exist between industrial organic and smaller organic farms?

Choice 4: Write a brief summary of section 4 “Meet Rosie, the Organic Free-Range Chicken” (169-). Why is “free range” in this case “an empty pastoral conceit” (173)?

Choice 5: Write a brief summary of section 5 “My Organic Industrial Meal” (173-176). How is his meal, prepared from industrial organic ingredients? In thinking about where his foods come from, what was good, and what was disappointing?

Choice 6: Write a brief summary of the last part of “Big Organic,” starting on page 176. Track Pollan’s argument about what is disappointing about industrial organic, and what may still be beneficial. Keep in mind that Pollan is talking about Big Organic in this chapter, so there may be smaller farms that more closely fit the ideal.

Choice 7: Since this book was written, big organic has also substantially expanded into mainstream mega-chain stores like Walmart and Target. What is your opinion of these changes and whether or not it is worthwhile to pay extra for organic, with the flaws Pollan has revealed?

Choice 8: The use of whole grains and unprocessed organic ingredients was identified as “brown food.” What was some of the symbolic significance of brown foods? (see bottom of page143). Though those who rebelled against “plastic food” may not have done so on a scientific basis, why might it have turned out that they were right about brown foods being healthier? Which assumptions of theirs do you think were valid, and which may not have been? Do you find brown food appealing? Why or why not?

Choice 9: According to Sir Albert Howard, an English agronomist (1873-1947), what was the problem with German chemist Baron Justus von Liebig’s idea that soil fertility could be broken down into three components: N-P-K (nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium) (146)? What is the problem with this reductionist assumption? Reductionism is a theory that reduces complex data to simple terms, often founded on the belief that biological processes can be explained by chemical or physical ones. Does this show a logical fallacy?

Choice 10: The organic food industry has become much more mainstream since this book was published. Do some research (articles, websites, the 2014 Farm Bill, more recent books and articles by Pollan) or field work (observations at stores, interviews etc.) to update views on something that Pollan has discussed in Chapter 9 “Big Organic.” Explain what Pollan said in 2006 and how your research supports, extends, or alters this train of thought.

Vivian Kuang
MondayMar 18 at 2:54pm

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Choice 1: Write a brief summary of section 1, “Supermarket Pastoral” (134-). What is he saying about the packaging, rhetoric (language used to persuade, but possibly lacking in content or sincerity), and marketing of products in a store like Whole Foods? Referring to your own kitchen, find a product, whether organic or not, and analyze the story presented by its packaging and labelling.

In Chapter 9, Pollan discusses the marketing tactics used in Whole Foods compared to Safeway. On the packages in Whole Foods, you’ll see words thrown on there; such as: “Certified Organic” or “Humanely Raised” or “Free Range.” However, there’s an ugly truth behind those words. The FDA allows companies to label things as “organic” even if it’s only partially true. When a label says “organic,” it is about 95% organic. If it says “made with organic ingredients,” it is about 70% organic. Similar to dog food labels, often times dog food contains less than 50% actual protein. If the label says chicken meal or chicken formula, it only contains 25% chicken. If it says with chicken or contains chicken, it has less than 3% chicken. The food industry is tricky nowadays.

Jolie Bankert
YesterdayMar 20 at 7:49pm

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Choice 3

In the section, “Down on the Industrial Farm”, Pollan discovers that industrial organic farms operate under the same factory model as regular industrial farms do, except that instead of using conventional chemicals (fertilizer) on the fields, organic industrial farms use compost made by a local horse farm to nourish the farm fields. The process of weed-killing on such organic industrial farms is perhaps a contradiction in itself, as although they use natural systems to control weeds without using chemicals, the Greenways farm uses tilling. Using the method of tilling, the heavy tillage ends up ruining the land of the soil, and disturbs the biological activity of the crops just as the use of chemicals would. As Pollan states, this is a common method used by the large-scale organic industrial farms. This then poses the question of how logical is the approach of using natural systems instead of the conventional, chemical systems that regular farms use?

Smaller organic farmers are in competition with larger, industrial organic farms. Tension comes from supermarket chains preferring to do business with industrial organic farms, ad they are more efficient, and are able to send an abundance or organic product to the stores. Pollan references the popularity of the organic company called Earthbound Farms, which is “… growing into a $350 million dollar company” (168). Smaller organic farmers are feeling as though they’re being pushed out of the organic market, as big companies like Earthbound are preferred by grocers.

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