Michael Pollan, author of the best-selling and award-winning “The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals” and leader in the sustainable food movement, said Thursday a new article he wrote in the New York Review of Books, titled “The Sickness in Our Food Supply,” explores “all that the novel coronavirus has revealed about our food system—and our diet.”
“The last few weeks I’ve been watching as the food chain we all depend on begins to buckle and break under the pressure of the pandemic: we’re seeing empty shelves in grocery stores, an alarming number of food workers taking ill, meatpacking plants closing,” Pollan said in an email.
“That’s because the problems we’re seeing are not limited to the way we produce and distribute food—they also show up in our plates. There’s solid evidence now that three of the biggest risk factors for getting a serious case of Covid-19 are obesity, hypertension, and type-2 diabetes: the chronic diseases linked to an inflammatory Western diet. Even when the American food system is working normally, supplying the supermarkets and drive-thrus with abundant and cheap calories, it is killing us—slowly in normal times, swiftly at times like this.
“The essay shows why the pandemic is, willy-nilly, making a strong case for decentralizing and de-industrializing the food system to the extent we can. For at the same time the industrial food chain is beginning to fail, local food economies are thriving, showing us the way.”