May/June 2006 Contributors

Michael Pollan (“No Bar Code”) spent a week toiling on Joel Salatin’s farm in preparation for our cover story on local, sustainable agriculture, an excerpt from his new book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (The Penguin Press, April 2006). As if rising from a bed in Joel’s mother’s trailer at 5:30 a.m. for a day of intense physical labor wasn’t enough of a departure from his Bay Area life, Pollan says he did so without even a sip of coffee—the evangelical Salatins take neither alcohol nor caffeine. But the work of slaughtering chickens was well worth its contribution to Pollan’s book, which chases the trail of four meals from seed to mouth, in the manner of a food detective story. Pollan may have discovered the shortest food chain in his chapter on hunting and gathering (in which he kills and eats a wild boar), but the Salatins’ farm is a close second and the most sustainable. “We assume that our role in nature is a zero-sum game—that any interaction we have with nature will deplete it,” he says. “But on Joel’s farm, working the land was helping to sustain it.” Pollan, author of several books exploring the intersection of the human and natural worlds, is a regular contributor to the New York Times Magazine and the former executive editor of Harper’s Magazine. He teaches journalism at the University of California-Berkeley.

Kai Wright
(“No Bar Code”), is a lifestyle and portrait photographer based in New York City. His work has been featured in Martha Stewart Living and Real Simple. (“The Bible Bench”), formerly of 60 Minutes II and the Center for Public Integrity, is an investigative reporter for the Associated Press. (“The Midas Touch”), whose trip from Los Angeles to Igiugig included a nerve-racking Cessna ride, was quickly hypnotized by the
Jim Franco
landscape of the tundra. A former senior editor at People, Miller has written for Time, Esquire, and Rolling Stone. A contributing editor at Esquire, (“Born Into Cellblocks”) has written on border issues and other themes in his 11 books. is an award-winning photographer based in Austin, Texas. She contributes regularly to National Geographic. (“Upward Mortality”) describes writing an article on his father’s death as
Penny De Los Santos
“a wrenching process, but also cathartic.” Says Wright, “I think he’d get a kick out of his death being dissected for an autopsy of race and health in America.” Wright is publications editor for the Black AIDS Institute. Nicknamed “Morticia” in high school, (“Gore Wins!”) had no trouble expounding on politically thematic horror films for Mother Jones. She is currently at work on a thriller about a woman who falls in love with a man only to discover he’s a Republican.