The Corner

Food Fight

It’s fashionable to attack modern farming methods these days, whether it’s in trendy books by authors such as Michael Pollan and Jonathan Safran Foer or documentaries such as Food Inc. When you live in a society that worries more about obesity than hunger — one that produces food more abundantly than any other in human history — it’s easy to take agriculture for granted and fantasize about a world of small-time organic growers who shun chemical fertilizers, biotechnology, and other aspects of mass production. In other words, it’s easy to wish for a world that doesn’t have to work too hard to feed itself.

But imagine what it’s like to be a farmer with mud in his boots and have to listen to the pious lectures of a Berkeley journalism professor (Pollan) and a New York-based novelist (Foer). Blake Hurst, a Missouri farmer, has had enough. Today, he writes about this fall’s harvest and the farming life in The American. He takes on New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, who recently complained (probably with a full belly) that 21st-century farming has “lost its soul.” This latest article by Hurst is something of a sequel to an outstanding essay he published this summer called “The Omnivore’s Delusion: Against the Agri-Intellectuals.”

This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for Blake Hurst’s refusal to keep quiet.

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.