Jul 16, 2017 Research papers

The Omnivore`s Delusion

This paper concentrates on the primary theme of The Omnivore`s Delusion in which you have to explain and evaluate its intricate aspects in detail. In addition to this, this paper has been reviewed and purchased by most of the students hence; it has been rated 4.8 points on the scale of 5 points. Besides, the price of this paper starts from £ 40. For more details and full access to the paper, please refer to the site.

The Omnivore`s Delusion: Against the Agri-Intellectuals


Writing Assignment: 25 percent of the grade

After reading Michael Pollan`s book, read the excerpted op-ed (below) by Missouri farmer Blake Hurst that appeared in the journal of the American Enterprise Institute. Then write a 6 to 9 page paper that responds to Hurst`s argumnets. Use information from Pollan`s book to support your arguments. You may write your paper in the form of a letter to Hurst, as an op-ed piece, or as a traditional essay.

Be sure to analyze Hurst`s ideas thoroughly and to respond to his arguments with facts from Pollan`s book. Please do not offer quotations from Pollan that exceed one sentence in length. Instead, put ideas and facts into your own words. Also, be sure to cite the page numbers where you located the ideas and facts. Finally, before you write your paper, reread the Paper Guidelines to be sure you understand when and how to cite page numbers, and to be sure you understand what constitutes plagiarism.

Do not consult outside sources, including Internet sources. The only source you need is Pollan’s book. The assignment is designed so that you become familiar with the ideas and arguments put forward in this book and learn how to use them to make an argument.

“The Omnivore’s Delusion: Against the Agri-Intellectuals,” by Blake Hurst

On the desk in front of me are a dozen books, all hugely critical of present-day farming. Farmers are often given a pass in these books, painted as either naïve tools of corporate greed, or economic nullities forced into their present circumstances by the unrelenting forces of the twin grindstones of corporate greed and unfeeling markets. To the farmer on the ground, though, a farmer blessed with free choice and hard won experience, the moral choices aren’t quite so easy. Biotech crops actually cut the use of chemicals, and increase food safety. Are people who refuse to use them my moral superiors? Herbicides cut the need for tillage, which decreases soil erosion by millions of tons. The biggest environmental harm I have done as a farmer is the topsoil (and nutrients) I used to send down the Missouri River to the Gulf of Mexico before we began to practice no-till farming, made possible only by the use of herbicides. The combination of herbicides and genetically modified seed has made my farm more sustainable, not less, and actually reduces the pollution I send down the river.

Consumers benefit from cheap food. If you think they don’t, just remember the headlines after food prices began increasing in 2007 and 2008, including the study by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations announcing that 50 million additional people are now hungry because of increasing food prices. Only “industrial farming” can possibly meet the demands of an increasing population and increased demand for food as a result of growing incomes.

Michael Pollan takes the expected swipes at animal agriculture. But his truly radical prescriptions have to do with the raising of crops. In his book, he leaves nuance behind, as well as the laws of chemistry. The nitrogen problem is this: without nitrogen, we do not have life. Until we learned to produce nitrogen from natural gas, the only way to get nitrogen was through the nitrogen produced by legumes. The mount of life the earth could support was limited by the amount of nitrogen available for crop production.

Norman Borlaug, the founder of the green revolution, estimates that the amount of nitrogen available naturally would only support a worldwide population of 4 billion souls or so. He further remarks that we would need another 5 billion cows to produce enough manure to fertilize our present crops with “natural” fertilizer. That would play havoc with global warming. And cows do not produce nitrogen from the air, but only from the forages they eat, so to produce more manure we will have to plant more forages.

Pollan thinks farmers use commercial fertilizer because it is easier, and because it is cheap. Pollan is right. But those are perfectly defensible reasons. As much as Pollan might desire it, even President Obama cannot reshuffle the chemical deck that nature has dealt. Energy may well get much more expensive, and peak oil production may have been reached. But food production will have a claim on fossil fuels long after we have learned how to use renewables and nuclear power to handle many of our other energy needs.

I use chemicals and diesel fuel to accomplish the tasks my grandfather used to do with sweat, but I’m still farming the same land he did 80 years ago. And everything I know and I have learned tells me this: we have to farm “industrially” to feed the world, and by using those “industrial” tools sensibly, we can accomplish that task and leave my grandchildren a prosperous and productive farm, while protecting the land, water, and air around us.


Name: Instructor: Date: The Omnivore’s Delusion: Against the Agri-Intellectuals Introduction Food production is core to the entire economic system that the world relies on. The human population and the animal population all rely on the ability of the food production systems to produce enough now and in the future. Food security has been one of the most contentious issues that the world economies have had to deal with in the last few decades. This is mainly due to the fact that the demand for food has increased relative to the growing population and the rising income status of most of the population. As a result, cultural means of farming have had to be set aside for the rise of the industrial farming that utilizes the advances in technology to meet the ever rising demand. Using herbicides to mitigate the weeds such that the farmers do not have to till the land is one of the basic elements.Using tractors and other farming machinery to enhance the farming operations is also central to the food production systems(Hurst). Farmers have had to adapt to the new food production mechanism as they rush to meet the demands of world food safety and tussle with the environmental concerns and policies. It is these elements that Blake Hurst in his article titled ‘The Omnivore’s Delusion: Against the Agri-Intellectuals’, is defending as he responds some of the content that Michael Pollan wrote in the book, ‘The Omnivore`s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four M...

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