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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