Michael Pollan Presents an Edible Education, A Free Online Course From UC Berkeley


When seized with the desire to learn where their food comes from, many of today’s readers turn to Michael Pollan, author of books like The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food, and Food Rules. Perhaps you know him as the guy who popularized the guiding words, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” If you’ve studied at the University of California, Berkeley, you might also know him as a professor at their Graduate School of Journalism. Possessed of both a journalist’s curiosity about sources and processes and a professor’s ability to explain — not to mention based in the same consciously hedonistic city that gave rise to Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse — Pollan has positioned himself well to remain America’s foremost public intellectual of the edible. Who else would UC Berkeley want to lead their Edible Education courses?

Above you’ll find Pollan’s opening session for the latest Edible Education lecture series, “Telling Stories About Food and Agriculture.” Open to members of the public as well as Berkeley students, the course examines the real and potential effects of the way we eat food and how that food gets to us in the first place. Other lecturers include theatre director Peter Sellars, radio producers the Kitchen Sisters, and “rock star of social justice writing” Raj Patel. Having “passed” the class, look into our archives and you’ll find the ideal follow-up for next semester: Harvard University’s Science and Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to the Science of Soft Matter, also free online. Never before has a practical education on our everyday food been so easily accessible — or as lively.

Both courses mentioned above appear in our collection, 1,700 Free Online Courses from Top Universities.

Related content:

Michael Pollan’s Book, Food Rules, Brought to Life with Animation

Michael Pollan on Sustainable Food

Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture and writes essays on literature, film, cities, Asia, and aesthetics. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall.

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