chapter  17
16 Pages

Food and the Environment

ByNEIL PRENDERGAST

At the university where I teach, I offer a class on food and environment, which I have creatively titled “Food and Environment.” Despite the less than imaginative name, it draws students from across campus. On the first day of class, when I ask the students what convinced them to register, I learn once again of the extensive impacts of Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma and Robert Kenner’s Food, Inc. The critiques of the current food system made by these works set many of the expectations students have for the course. To these students, terms such as “monoculture” require no definition. They are standard vocabulary in their own conversations outside the classroom. The fact that so many students from so many departments are interested and reasonably informed makes the course a pleasure to teach, but I nonetheless find that there is some real work to be done in the semester.1