Pollan P'15, Bloom '99 Share 'Table Talk' with San Francisco Alumni

July 20, 2016

October 22, in a historic San Francisco industrial space that once housed the printing plant of William Randolph Hearst, nearly 100 Wesleyan alumni and friends enjoyed an intimate and thought-provoking conversation with two of the nation's foremost voices on food and the food industry: Michael Pollan P'15 and Jonathan Bloom '99.

The occasion was "Table Talk," an event underwritten by generous Wesleyan donors to help support financial aid; the place was The Box San Francisco, in the South of Market district. President Michael Roth welcomed guests to the event and introduced Pollan and Bloom.

Pollan, the author of Food Rules, Cooked, and The Omnivore’s Dilemma, shared with the audience his thesis that the simple act of cooking our own food can be a political act, and he mentioned efforts including Wesleyan's Long Lane Farm as evidence of a farm and food movement that increasingly enables Americans to avoid the highly processed, "edible food-like substances" so widely available in supermarkets.

Bloom, a food waste activist known for his blog Wasted Food and his book American Wasteland, enlightened the audience with his assertion that Americans waste more than 40 percent of the food we produce for consumption.

An engaged audience—made up of alumni, friends, and current students—then had the opportunity to question the two writers about everything from ballot measures requiring the labeling of foods with genetically-modified ingredients, to the role of food banks in making farm-direct food available to urban neighborhoods.

This event was part of a series in the $400 million THIS IS WHY campaign to support the University’s endowment. All proceeds from ticket sales—100%—go directly to financial aid for Wesleyan students.