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Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma, and John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, continue their year-long public conversation about the future of organic food and agricultural sustainability. In front of a sold-out crowd at UC Berkeley on February 27, 2007, they cover some of the inconvenient truths about the world's food systems. Mackey begins with a 45-minute presentation about unsustainable agricultural and food distribution practices, as well as Whole Foods' efforts to improve them. (A note of caution: The audio lecture includes brief descriptions of animal cruelty and harsh human working conditions, and so may not be work- or family-safe.) He and Pollan then continue the discussion they started shortly after the publication of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and which continues on their respective Web logs.
John Mackey is the co-founder of Whole Foods Market and has served as its chairman of the board and CEO since 1980. He started the company in 1978 as a healthfood store called Saferway out of his garage in Austin, Texas. Today Whole Foods has more than 150 supermarkets throughout the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Mackey was named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year in 2003. He considers himself vegan, although he eats eggs from his personal flock of free-range chickens.
Michael Pollan is the author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, a New York Times bestseller. His previous books include The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World (2001); A Place of My Own (1997); and Second Nature (1991). A contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine, Pollan is the recipient of numerous journalistic awards, including the James Beard Award for best magazine series in 2003 and the Reuters-I.U.C.N. 2000 Global Award for Environmental Journalism.
Pollan served for many years as executive editor of Harper’s Magazine and is now the Knight Professor of Science and Environmental Journalism at UC Berkeley. His articles have been anthologized in Best American Science Writing 2004, Best American Essays 2003, and the Norton Book of Nature Writing. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, the painter Judith Belzer, and their son, Isaac.