Michael Pollan was the keynote speaker at the Georgia Organics Conference March 21, 2009. The event was held at Agnes Scott College. He addressed the audience after they enjoyed a farmers feast (made from local food) about his thoughts on the "state of the movement." The address is available for viewing in its entirety or in separate parts.

(Meredith Darlington/MNN)

Watch the entire Michael Pollan: State of the Movement Address

Michael Pollan: Introduction

Michael Pollan: Components of the address

Michael Pollan: Energy and climate change

Michael Pollan: Healthcare crisis

Michael Pollan: A history of food policy

Michael Pollan: Food reform framework

Michael Pollan: How did we get to his point?

Michael Pollan: The problem with monocultures

Michael Pollan: Polycultures: A step in the right direction

Michael Pollan: Get animals back on farms

Michael Pollan: Not enough farmers

Michael Pollan: Decentralizing food

Michael Pollan: Local economies

Michael Pollan: The food culture

Michael Pollan: Make me do it



Michael:  Healthcare crisis. Well, since 1960 when I was a boy, spending on healthcare as a percentage of GDP has gone from 5 percent to nearly 18 percent today. We will not be able to insure everybody in this country unless we get a handle on healthcare costs. And when you look at those healthcare costs, as the CDC has done, you discover a rather alarming fact: that of the two trillion dollars we’re spending on healthcare in this country now, that’s 17 percent of our GDP, fully 1.5 trillion, they estimate, is going to treat preventable chronic disease, the great majority of which is linked of course to diet and the way we’re eating. Four of the top ten killers are linked to chronic disease. 70 percent of us will die from diet-related chronic disease. 

It is no coincidence that in this period when our healthcare costs were going from 5 percent of our income to 18 percent, our spending on food was plummeting from 16 percent to now under 9 percent. Is there a connection as those two lines crossed? Of course there is. Could we reduce our healthcare spending by spending a little bit more on healthy, quality food? Without a doubt.


Michael Pollan: Healthcare crisis
Michael Pollan explains how healthcare costs are increasing while the amount of money people spend on good food is decreasing and suggests a change.