in a perfect world of yancies: corn: the SUV of plants

12 April 2006

corn: the SUV of plants

Perhaps I'm getting too didactic lately, but Terry Gross' interview with Michael Pollan on Fresh Air the other day was excellent. Did you know that every bushel of corn grown in the US, with industrial farming methods, "takes somewhere between a quarter and a third of a gallon of gasoline (equivalent) to grow"? Yikes.

It's not that I'm opposed to corn (I love tortillas, and who doesn't like popcorn?), or would endorse everything Pollan said: the processed foods full of high-fructose corn syrup, though, do scare me, as does the insane cost to our environment of our current methods of growing that corn. . . .

Anyway, it's also a great discussion of agriculture, health, and the (possible) value of organic and/or local foods. That plug for local food, if you're wondering, gets my full approval. The Lawrence Farmers Market opens 29 April!

I strongly recommend listening to the story; click here to listen.

(If that link to the npr page causes anyone any trouble, let me know & I can try to just embed the audio here.)
(Thanks to Magen for recommending the story (and to npr listeners, I guess, who made it one of yesterday's 'most emailed stories').)
(Oh, and for anyone looking for follow-up on the Busby story, see the comments on that post.)


  1. The broadcast played immediately and there were no skips. I was actually able to listen to the whole story and found it very interesting. I also remember hearing something a while back about how obscenely expensive it is to produce the ethanol that is added to our gasoline. Crazy, huh?

  2. Yeah, it seems to me that ethanol is a crazy and foolish investment, and tricks people into thinking it's good for the environment. But the corn used in the ethanol was itself produced using fossil fuels. . . .

    Bottom line: I hate ethanol.