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Pollan´S Theories And The Potato Essay

746 words - 3 pages

Pollan has a few positions regarding the nature that the potato satisfies and its connection to politics, production, and his own personal life. His view regarding the desire that the potato satisfies is compared with the idea of the sublime. Pollan states that the sublime is “mostly a kind of vacation in both a literal and moral sense” (184) and that nature itself is a counter to that. Agriculture can be described as a method of control of nature (in this case, particularly with genetics). Thus the potato (and its representative, the NewLeaf) are introduced as the manifestation of our desire to control. Pollan states that his personal reasons for growing the potato are not so much because he wants something out of them as much as it is an experiment to decide whether or not the NewLeaf potato is actually worth growing. In industry, Pollan states, there is a “long, complex and…largely invisible food chain that links us to the land.” Genetic crops are an integral part of this chain according to Pollan, as a large amount of the fields that grow crops are genetically modified.

Pollan has an interesting first experience while opening the NewLeaf seeds (and this experience gives a little insight in his opinions on the political aspect of the potatoes). He explains how the plants are patented with the US government and that replanting them would be against the law (which in the text clearly has a negative bias). To a point I agree with him…the idea of patenting plants is something that I find to be incredibly strange, but I do not agree with the implied position that he should be able to replant the seeds; because the NewLeaf is patented, the genes are property of Monsanto and as such should not be replicated without profit being given to Monsanto. Obviously this is a step into the direction of control that Pollan speaks about, but the implications are another consideration; what about genetically modified people?

Pollan discovers that in industry there are benefits to using genetically modified plants over standard plants. In the classic agriculture paradigm, the farm is irrigated with water as well as pesticides. The process becomes...

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