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It’s really hard to get over what simply going outside can do for the soul.

I made my way down to Brown (I think Vincent Gallo has a song called that…) to see Michael Pollan lecture about his new book, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto.

I arrived an hour and a half early, afraid that if I didn’t I wouldn’t get in. I was probably right, really, because about a half hour before the lecture, the auditorium filled up and fast.

There was some sort of Republican affair in the same room just before Pollan’s lecture, and, of course, they took forever to wrap it all up (so typical) so we could start filing in. It’s all good, though, everything went really well. I didn’t hump Pollan’s leg, and I didn’t make my shirt that claimed I had been “pollan-ated” with the cute little bumble bee that I had envisioned for days, but did nothing about…

I also didn’t learn many new things at the lecture, but I’m still really glad I went. I really believe that sometimes the feeling of community (the like minds that were at the lecture) is more important to the idea of change – because the idea is what makes the change really happen.

I had a really lovely and lively discussion with a woman from Boston about food and politics, though I felt like a bit of a loon when I couldn’t remember the connection Hillary had with Monsanto; I only remembered there was a connection of some sort.. so for her and anyone else, here are the links:

  • An Open Letter to Hillary
    • “Your Orwellian-named “Rural Americans for Hillary” were Monsanto’s lobbyists. My greater concern, though, is you former-employer, Rose Law Firm, representing Monsanto, world’s largest GE (GE – genetic engineering) corporation; Tyson, world’s largest meat producer; Walmart, the world’s largest retailer. Rose is home to Industrial FOOD.”
  • YeeHaw
    • the presidential campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, is holding a “Rural Americans for Hillary” lunch and campaign briefing at the end of this month…

      ..but she’s holding it in Washington, DC…

      …at a lobbying firm…

      …and specifically, though it’s not mentioned in the invitation, at the lobbying firm Troutman Sanders Public Affairs…

      …which just so happens to lobby for the controversial multinational agri-biotech Monsanto.”

  • Going Backwards: Clinton Administration Appoints A Former Monsanto Corp. Lobbyist To Represent US Consumers On Genetically Engineered Food Issues (2000)
    • Leading consumer and environmental groups are fuming because the Clinton administration has appointed a former Monsanto Corp. lobbyist to represent U.S. consumers on a transatlantic committee set up to avoid a trade war over genetically engineered foods.

      U.S. farmers have planted millions of acres of corn and other crops that have been genetically engineered to resist pests, and the growers want to export such produce freely. But in Europe, where genetically altered crops have been dubbed Frankenfoods, governments have imposed labeling rules and safety tests that have restricted U.S. imports.

      Friction between the United States and Europe over the foods issue torpedoed last year’s World Trade Organization (WTO) talks in Seattle and now threaten to erupt into a transatlantic trade war.

Now I don’t care about many things, but Genetically Modified Foods is something I really really care about because food is the one thing that we all need and to have one company in control of the food supply is a highly dangerous perspective. One that I don’t really want to think about as being an option, and I hope for all of our sakes, that it never happens.

I know that pockets are deep in major corporations and I imagine that sometimes some politicians don’t realize the connections from where money comes and sometimes they really do know all this and much, much more. I am not here to bash anyone, I’d rather have Hillary than McCain, so there’s that…

But back to magical Pollan…. he was fantastic, funny, sharp and smart and he was much, much taller than I expected.

There was a part of his lecture that talked about food as culture, which I thought was kind of funny, because for many people it’s true, but equally for many people it is not true. He said one of the rules of eating was to “listen to your mom;” that culturally she has been handed down information about what to eat, what not to eat, how to eat, when to eat, what to do at the table, etc. But what’s funny about that for me and I know it’s true for a complete generation of people my age and younger residing primarily in the lower economic classes – that stuff mom had us eat came straight from a box. So in my case, I will not take my mother’s cooking advice, no. I will churn my own traditions taking bits from other peoples’ cultures and societies and making them my own and I will hand these down to the children in my life, mine or otherwise.

I felt very grateful that I had opportunity to go to the lecture; I know several people who wanted to, but couldn’t for a variety of reasons. Going to lectures has always been something I’ve liked to do because it puts me into a pool of a like-minded community, not just my direct community, but a subgroup of people where we all somewhat agree on a specific topic. It’s nice. It’s safe. It’s a fun thing to do on a Thursday night.