In 2006, Whole Foods wrote an open letter to Michael Pollan, taking issue with some criticisms he had of their company (namely, that they – as of 2006 – overlooked opportunities to positively affect local food systems). In June of that year he wrote a gracious reply reiterating how he thought Whole Foods could take a lead role in changing how Americans eat and how farmers are able to successful grow food that’s better for us.
In 2010, just a month or so ago in fact, I read Pollan’s letter on his website, and was impressed with his eloquent urging of Whole Foods CEO to invest in local food systems for both vegetables and for grass-fed beef. he wrote,
I was pleased to hear you speak of the importance of grass in both beef and milk production, and applaud your efforts to push the organic dairy industry to make grazing mandatory and reject the organic feedlot model. The story in beef is more complicated. I recognize the economic advantages of sourcing grass-fed beef from overseas; it is a commodity in New Zealand while still an artisanal product here. Yet Whole Foods’ commitment to developing an American grass-fed meat industry would have such a profound impact, both on the environment and the welfare of the animals, that I would urge you to take a broader view of the matter… (more…)