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Who is Michael Pollan?


Alan & Susan Carle (left), Michael & Judith Pollan, & Gaia our dog at The Botanical Ark

Alan & Susan Carle (left), Michael & Judith Pollan, & Gaia our dog under a kapok tree at The Botanical Ark.

If anybody has made us think about our relationship with food, it is Michael Pollan. We’ve always enjoyed his books and when, out of the blue, he asked to visit, we were happy to oblige.

He carries some intellectual muscle. In 2009, Newsweek named him one of the top 10 “New Thought Leaders”. In 2010, Time listed him as one of the world’s 100 most influential people

Four of his nine books were New York Times bestsellers: 

  • Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual (2010); 
  • In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto (2008); 
  • The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (2006);
  • The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World (2001). 

The Omnivore’s Dilemma was also named one of the ten best books of 2006 by the New York Times and the Washington Post. It also won the California Book Award, the Northern California Book Award, the James Beard Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. 

The Botany of Desire received the Borders Original Voices Award for the best non-fiction work of 2001, and was recognized as a best book of the year by the American Booksellers Association and Amazon.com. PBS (the US non-profit Public Broadcasting Service)  premiered a two-hour special documentary based on The Botany of Desire in 2009.

In 2010, the New York Times reviewer wrote, “In the more than four decades that I have been reading and writing about the findings of nutritional science, I have come across nothing more intelligent, sensible and simple to follow than the 64 principles outlined in a slender, easy-to-digest new book called “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, by Michael Pollan.”

In 2008, UK’s The Financial Times wrote, “Pollan deserves his reputation as one of the most respectable voices in the modern debate about food”.

He’s won too many other awards to write of here without it looking like a shopping list for a starving village, but I’m sure you get the gist. Or you can visit Michael Pollan’s website.


What did Michael Pollan say about The Botanical Ark?

Michael Pollan (photo by Fran Collin) (Main photo by Ken Light)

Michael Pollan (photo by Fran Collin) (Banner photo by Ken Light)


“The Botanical Ark is home to one of the most fascinating and unusual collections of plants I have seen, and together with the buildings and landscape comprises a beautiful and exotic place, offering a stimulating mix of instruction and delight.”

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