Michael Pollan Biography

(Author & Journalist Best Known for His Food-Related Books ‘The Botany of Desire’ & ‘The Omnivore's Dilemma’)

Birthday: February 6, 1955 (Aquarius)

Born In: Long Island, New York, United States

Michael Pollan is an American author, journalist, activist, and professor of journalism. He is the son of author and financial consultant Stephen Pollan and columnist Corky Pollan. He has written a number of books, essays and articles on food. His first book “Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education” is considered a manifesto for both gardeners and environmentalists. His book “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” was named by The New York Times as one of the five best non-fiction books of the year in which it was published. His “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual” emphasizes the need for a healthy and sustainable diet. The James Beard Foundation named it winner for the best food writing. His principle is “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants”. His other books are “A Place of My Own”, “In Defense of Food”, and the latest “In Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation”. The documentary, “Food, Inc.”, for which he was a consultant and co-star, received an Academy Award nomination. He also appeared in the PBS program based on “The Botany of Desire”. He is a Professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, and is a contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine. His writings have received numerous awards.

Quick Facts

Also Known As: Michael Kevin Pollan

Age: 69 Years, 69 Year Old Males


Spouse/Ex-: Judith Belzer (m. 1987)

father: Stephen Pollan

mother: Corky Pollan

siblings: Tracy Pollan

children: Isaac Pollan

Born Country: United States

Quotes By Michael Pollan Journalists

Height: 6'3" (190 cm), 6'3" Males

Grouping of People: Jewish Writer

Ancestry: Russian American

U.S. State: New Yorkers

More Facts

education: Columbia University

awards: Reuters World Conservation Union Global Awards
Genesis Award from the Humane Society of the United States

  • 1

    What are some key ideas in Michael Pollan's book The Omnivore's Dilemma?

    In "The Omnivore's Dilemma," Michael Pollan explores the origins of four meals, each representing a different food chain: industrial, industrial-organic, local sustainable, and hunter-gatherer.

  • 2

    What is Michael Pollan's stance on the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food production?

    Michael Pollan is critical of the use of GMOs in food production, raising concerns about their potential environmental and health impacts in his work.
  • 3

    What role does Michael Pollan believe cooking plays in our overall health and well-being?

    Michael Pollan emphasizes the importance of cooking as a means to take control of our diets and foster healthier relationships with food, advocating for a return to home-cooked meals.
Childhood & Early Life
Michael Pollan was born on February 6, 1955 into a Jewish family, and grew up in Long Island. He is the son of author and financial consultant Stephen Pollan and columnist Corky Pollan.
He received a B.A. in English from Bennington College, and an M.A. in English from Columbia University in 1981. He got a job to write for the magazine Channels, and enjoyed publishing and writing.
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Career & Later Life
In 1991, Pollan’s book “Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education” was published by Atlantic Monthly Press. The book has become a manifesto for both gardeners and environmentalists, and makes man analyze his relationship with nature.
His “A Place of My Own: The Education of an Amateur Builder” traces the design and construction of out-building, re-released as “A Place of My Own: The Architecture of Daydreams” a decade after.
“The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World”, he explores co-evolution, and mankind’s relationship with four plants — apples, tulips, marijuana, and potatoes — from the perspectives of both man and plants.
In 2003, Pollan was appointed the John S. and James L. Knight Professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, and the director of the Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism.
The New York Times named his “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” one of the five best non-fiction books of the year in December 2006. The James Beard Foundation named it winner for the best food writing.
His articles from 1990 to 2006 have been anthologized in Best American Science Writing, Best American Essays, The Animals: Practicing Complexity and the Norton Book of Nature Writing.
Pollan has written for the social psychology magazine, Greater Good, published by the Greater Good Science Center at University of California, Berkeley. His article “Edible Ethics” is about ethical eating and social psychology.
He was a consultant and co-star for the 2008 documentary, “Food, Inc.”, which received an Academy Award nomination. He also appeared in a two-hour PBS special program based on “The Botany of Desire”.
“Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual” published in 2009 provides a simple framework for healthy and sustainable diet and emphasizes on his principle of “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
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In 2009, he was named by Newsweek as one of the top 10 “New Thought Leaders.” He was also a finalist for the National Magazine Award for best essay.
In 2010, Pollan was interviewed for the film “Queen of the Sun: What are the bees telling us?” — a feature length documentary about honey bees and colony collapse disorder.
His 2013 book “In Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation”, describes cooking in relation to the elements of Fire (cooking with heat), Water (braising and boiling with pots), Air (breadmaking), and Earth (fermenting).
His articles have appeared in many magazines including Harper’s Magazine, where he served as executive editor from 1984 to 1994, National Geographic, Mother Jones, Travel + Leisure, House & Garden and Gardens Illustrated.
Major Works
Pollan’s 2006 book “The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals” describes four basic ways by which man has obtained food, namely the industrial, organic, local farm method, and as a hunter-gatherer.
“In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto” published in 2008, he points out that cultures that perceive food as having purposes of pleasure, identity, and sociality may end up with better health.
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Awards & Achievements
Pollan won the John Burroughs prize for the best natural history essay in 1997. His book “Second Nature” won the QPB New Vision Award. He has won the Reuters-I.U.C.N. Global Award for Environmental Journalism.
In 2003, he won the James Beard Award for best magazine series, and the Humane Society of the United States’ Genesis Award for his writing on animal agriculture.
2009 saw him win the President’s Citation Award from the American Institute of Biological Sciences, and the Voices of Nature Award from the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Personal Life & Legacy
Pollan is married to the landscape painter Judith Belzer. They met in 1974, and have been married for 22-years. They live in the Bay Area with their son, Issac.
Facts About Michael Pollan
Michael Pollan once grew his own psychedelic mushrooms as part of research for his book "How to Change Your Mind" on the benefits of psychedelics.
He is known for his advocacy of sustainable farming and has a small farm where he grows his own food.
Pollan has a passion for cooking and has written several books that explore the relationship between food and culture.
He often emphasizes the importance of reconnecting with nature and the earth through our food choices.
Pollan is a strong advocate for food education and has been involved in various initiatives to promote better understanding of where our food comes from.
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See the events in life of Michael Pollan in Chronological Order

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