Michael Pollan – “Playing God in the Garden”

1)  Explain what Pollan means by, “[t]his convenient version of reality” in the third paragraph.  How does it explain American ambivalence toward GM foods? How does it explain Europe’s resistance to GM foods?

2)  Pollan writes that organic farmers, conventional farmers, agribusiness corporations, government officials, and environmentalists agree that the industrial food chain needs reform.  Why do all stakeholders agree that the current model of industrial farming unsustainable?

3)  Explain Pollan’s point in each of the following sections: Sprouting, Growing, and Flowering.

4)  What is Pollan’s implied argument about the safety of bioengineered foods and the U.S. regulatory system (the USDA, FDA, and EPA)?

5)  Who are the metaphorical “beetles” in the section “Meeting the Beetles”?  What does each of these beetles represent?

6)  What is Pollan’s implicit argument about the sustainability of organic farming?

7)  What does Pollan see as the real problem facing farmers?