Greetings from Silver Spring, MD. My wife and I are here visiting our daughter, her husband, and our new granddaughter. It's great to be a granddad.
I've been re-reading Chapter 9 — "Big Organic" — since we've been shopping at a Whole Foods store this week. My daughter and I talked about Whole Foods as we walked home yesterday with cloth bags of groceries over our shoulders. On the one hand, many of the criticisms Pollan makes of Whole Foods are valid. On the other hand, we had a great shopping experience there ... and we were more than willing to walk by a Safeway on our way to the Whole Foods store.
This chapter of The Omnivore's Dilemma prompted an interesting exchange of letters between John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, and Michael Pollan. You'll find Mackey's first letter and links to others at:
Pollan's criticisms have prompted some changes at Whole Foods ... most notably increased efforts to source more foods locally. My daughter and I enjoyed the result when we purchased some great goat cheese from a nearby farm. On the other hand, much is still the same at Whole Foods.
I'd like to pose the following questions for further discussion: Can we deliver a more sustainable food system to everyone without exploiting the efficiencies of the modern supermarket industry as Whole Foods has done? If we answer in the affirmative, how would that food system work? It takes a lot of food to feed everyone in a large metropolitan area like the Twin Cities of the Washington, DC area. I'm convinced we can do better than we're doing now, but figuring out the best way to improve our food system on a regional scale will be a difficult challenge ... and the solutions may surprise us.