Friday, May 4, 2012

Michael Pollan at Artosphere

I was delighted to attend the special kick-off event for the Fayetteville Artosphere celebration -  bestselling author Michael Pollan spoke at the Walton Arts Center last night. Ozarks at Large producer Kyle Kellams conducted a Q&A session with him, and the result was an interesting, informative, and friendly discussion of food, people, and culture.

Michael Pollan is one of the most celebrated current authors, writing on "the places where nature and culture intersect: on our plates, in our farms and gardens, and in the built environment." We read and discuss some of his work in our LL.M. classes.

His work includes four New York Times bestsellers: Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual (2010); In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto (2008); The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (2006) and The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World (2001).

The Omnivore’s Dilemma was named one of the ten best books of 2006 by both the New York Times and the Washington Post, and it won the California Book Award, the Northern California Book Award, the James Beard Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Michael Pollan has been a contributing writer to the New York Times Sunday Magazine since 1987. For example, his article, Farmer in Chief, published in October 2008 is a must-read for those questioning the sustainability of current farm policy.

He currently is the John S. and James L. Knight Professor of Journalism and director of the Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.

I met up with several of this year's LL.M. candidates for a picnic during the opening festivities -  there was free music by April Verch and local band Three Penny Acre, a beer garden with local brew, a farmers market, and booths from local groups such as Ozark Slow Food, Feed Fayetteville, and the Fayetteville Farmers Market on Tyson Plaza. Local author, Quinn Montana, who wrote the book Worship Your Food was offering signed copies of her book.  It was a sampling of Fayetteville's embrace of the local food movement. And, another reason why Northwest Arkansas is a perfect location in which to study food law and policy.

After the presentation, at the book signing, I had the opportunity to provide Professor Pollan with information about our LL.M. Program -  he was pleased to learn about our integrated study of agricultural and food law issues.

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