I came across his first book, Second Nature: a gardener’s education, by chance and loved it. Pollan is a former journalist, and now professor of science and environmental journalism at UC Berkeley. He is also a hugely informative, entertaining writer who will take a theme (gardening, building, food, eating) and follow it totally. He builds, he gardens, he farms and as he does so he thinks about what he is doing, why we (or at least Americans) do things one way and not another. Pollan is a true polymath and a joy to read.
He spoke at the Auckland Writers’ festival earlier this year and there is plenty of information about him on the internet, but the best way to get to know his ideas is to read his books.
The whole topic of food supply is very hot right now – see Jamie Oliver’s two shows that recently screened on TV and Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle as well as Pollan’s own Omnivore’s Dilemma: the natural history of four meals, not to mention most of the feature articles in the latest NZ Listener. Although I love Kingsolver’s fiction I found this book difficult to get into. Maybe it’s because it was written in collaboration with two other people.