Last year, Michael Pollan published a bold critique of Whole Foods in his book The Omnivore's Dilemma, taking the natural foods giant to task for selling what he dubbed industrial organic food.
Exhibit A: a limp bunch of organic asparagus flown in from South America rather than the local foods burgeoning at places like farmers' markets.
Whole Foods CEO John Mackey responded, thoroughly engaging his critic in a spirited debate. (Somewhere in there Mackey also handed Pollan a $25 gift certificate for the asparagus — not sure if Pollan spent it, but we'll check it out).
This was all followed closely in foodie circles, with the back-and-forth discussion at both Pollan's and Mackey's web sites.
Now, the two are back, meeting Tuesday evening at the University of California Berkeley, where Pollan teaches in the journalism program, for a "discussion" about the past, present and future of food. The event proved so popular it had to be moved to a larger hall to accommodate the audience. Now it's sold out.
It should be entertaining. The inside word is that Mackey will be provocative - but it's unlear what that means.
U.C. Berkeley will be running a live Webcast of the event here.
A new contributor to Chews Wise will also be blogging from Berkeley so stay tuned for our take on it.
- Samuel Fromartz