Choosing to cook - or not

Salon just published a piece I wrote on how technology has changed our farms and kitchens.

Here are a few excerpts:

According to a new Netflix series based on Michael Pollan’s book “Cooked,” we should all head back to the kitchen and relish in the joys of home cooking. It’s not necessarily bad advice. There is an inherent dignity in seeing the fruits of one’s labor immediately enjoyed by friends and family. But good advice for one doesn’t always make good advice for all, particularly when it comes to food policy, which Pollan has attempted to change. That cooking, and in a particular manner and philosophy, should be a pressing issue for most households is presumptive at best.

Amid the lofty goals of the leaders of the so-called food movement runs an undercurrent of food philosophy and politics that undermines our food freedoms and prosperity. While recognizing that our modern foodstuffs, from wheat to corn, are unnatural human creations, there is a sense in which our more modern innovations – from microwaves to biotechnology – are nefarious plots of Big Food that are to blame for current problems as diverse as obesity and soil runoff.


Often missed in the discussion of food futures is an accurate depiction of what’s actually happening today on the farm. Rural entrepreneurship and technological adoption are having profound impacts on farmers’ fields and on our dinner plates. A closer look reveals a fundamentally different view of the future of food based on the idea that innovation and technological advancement are not opposed to sustainability but rather are the key ingredients.

In conclusion:

Change is scary. But what’s the alternative? Eating like our grandparents? We can aspire to something more.