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It’s not adequate to just vote with your forks

We had the opportunity to visit with Michael Pollan, the famed food and agriculture journalist and author on Thursday last week. Dorsey Barger, the woman behind HausBar farms, hosted a lovely and intimate gathering at her newly remodeled farm in East Austin, complete with libations from Tipsy Texan, pizza from Bola pizza and apps from Dai Due. (Barrie Cullinan, winner of one of the Bon Appetit top 10 best bakeries in America title in 2011, provided the most buttery, delectable pear jam cookies).

Mr. Pollan was mobbed by rabid fans over the course of the night (as the most famous of the writers to come from the slow food and sustainable agriculture movement of the past 10 years, this type of thing is commonplace for him). However, we were lucky enough to be introduced and speak for a few minutes about Vital Farms and our growing number of small family farms raising pastured laying hens and chickens.

Photo by Ken Light

Here are a few of our favorite quotes from his talk at the Paramount that night:

“There is no one ideal human diet. Cooking itself solves a lot of nutritional problems. Long before science, we had culture. Which is just a funny word for your Mom.” – Michael Pollan

“Chickens that have gotten to eat loads of grass and bugs taste totally different and are a completely different animal.” – MP

“There is deep confusion about food. People ate perfectly well before they knew what Omega-3s were.” – MP

“When we took animals off the farm, we turned an elegant solution into two neat and organized problems.”- MP quoting Wendell Barry. (He’s referring to the fact that pastured rotation takes care of fertilizing plant life, as well as treating the refuse left after being occupied by animals).

“If people are not prepared to cook, then local agriculture doesn’t have a chance.” – MP

“Americans pay less for food than any people ever on earth- less than 9.5% of income. In one way it’s a blessing. But we’ve externalized the costs. You must count the cost of pollution, public health costs, tax breaks for feed costs. Another cost is antibacterial resistance.” – MP

“The food business model is: cheap raw materials complicated by processing. To make the most money, you need to have as many processing steps as possible.” – MP

“It’s not adequate to just vote with your forks.” – MP