In the first chapter, “The Plant: Corn’s Conquest,” Michael Pollan sets out to trace the industrial food chain back from the products he finds in the supermarket. In “The Farm,” he manages to find where many of those foods are produced. However, by the time he reaches “The Elevator,” he discovers the impossibility of his task. Pollan makes a distinction between a farmer’s bushels of corn and corn as a fungible commodity. As much as Pollan might wish to trace George Naylor’s corn to its final destination, it is mixed with corn from numerous other farmers (each of whom...
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