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Pollan's visit to Madison stirs up discussion

(article, Culinate staff)

There's been a lot of news about Michael Pollan's visit to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where his book In Defense of Food is being widely read as part of the school's Go Big Read program. Newspapers — from the school's daily, The Badger, to Canada's Toronto Star — covered his lecture last Thursday and the controversy that accompanied his visit (including a protest group calling themselves In Defense of Farmers). 

On Friday, Jill Richardson, who blogs at La Vida Locavore, attended a panel discussion that included Pollan, two farmers, and a UW student who grew up on a farm. She left impressed with, among other things, Pollan's ability to "lower the emotional temperature" in the room. And she resolved to take a second look at the term "sustainable ag," which she says is being used by all sorts of industrial-ag groups as well. Her choice for a new label? "Agroecology." Says Richardson:

bq. That's one you can't co-opt, I think. After all, someone can lie and say that industrial techniques are sustainable, but you can't pretend that any of them are based on understanding and utilizing ecology.