Thanks for the article on Michael Pollan (9/18/09), whose In Defense of Food I just finished, and which my family and I discussed over a cozy, relaxing dinner of homemade vegetable lasagna, fresh bread, organic greens and pinot noir. I encourage readers to make a mental connection between your cover story and the preceding pieces on health care reform. No, not all our ills or accidents will be solved, or staved off, by eating better. But if you're looking for health care reform, why not start by looking in your refrigerator?
Liz Merfeld, Monona
Pollan is a relative newcomer to food system issues. His insights relate the life's work of many individuals who've researched and promoted these issues, often at great costs to themselves. Marginalized or dismissed as kooks or Luddites, they carried forth this work when it was unsexy and unpopular, especially during the '60s and '80s.
Another significant omission in Pollan's work concerns the differences between regions of food production. The Midwest is vastly different from California, New England, the Southeast or the Southwest. Pollan has a good grip on West Coast food systems issues, but lacks depth in understanding Midwest issues, or how our regions interact.
Wisconsin was once home to a thriving wholesale fresh vegetable industry, laid waste by predatory pricing and federal subsidies that favored West Coast desert production and supported unsustainable corn production in the Midwest. Change these dynamics and the system will become much healthier in a hurry.
Save Anderberg house
I am a former resident at Drumlin and current gardener until Sept. 30, when we get kicked off the land. I am writing in response to your article "Historic House Still Standing" (9/18/09) to let the community know that moving the historic Anderberg house would be a mistake.
The Anderberg family farmed the land and sold produce at markets on the south side of Madison as early as 1907. The house and the gardens go together like peas in a pod.
Moving the house would also make way for leveling the drumlin and removing the century-plus-old trees on the ridge, as was done last year with Alexander Co.'s Novation development to the north half of the hill.
In addition, it would demoralize the gardeners who have used the house as a meeting place for the past several years, as the community gardens became more and more popular in the neighborhood.
Complainers wrong about wind turbines
Brian McCombie's article "The War Over Wind" (9/11/09) brought the fear-mongering, myth-based, ultra-wacky hysterics of Wisconsin anti-wind activists to an otherwise reputable publication.
"Wind turbine syndrome" is the latest attempt to halt the installation of clean, renewable energy in our state. Those opposed to wind power projects have historically voiced concerns of annoying shadows, noise and ruined views. But about a year ago, Internet stories of wind turbines making people sick began to surface, and it caught the public's attention. McCombie was duped into believing these outrageous claims and proclaiming them as fact.
Wisconsin is finally starting to install clean, renewable energy - and that progress has been harmed by a handful of extremists more concerned about their property values than the economical and environmental benefits of wind power.
I have spent many hours on and underneath wind turbines of all sizes, and have never felt sick. Nor have any of the systems' owners/hosts that I've met. What makes me sick is the profound hatred these selfish wind opponents have toward change and progress.
Jenny Heinzen, Manitowoc
Brian McCombie's article spent a lot of time and space quoting wind opponents, and gave no perspective on how we got here.
Ten years ago, new state legislation required independent wind developers to seek approval through the local community rather than the Public Service Commission for projects less than 100 megawatts.
During this window of opportunity for local control, many elected officials let themselves be bullied into shunning wind projects. A vocal minority effectively denied farmers and landowners the right to reasonably use their land to make a living. Ten years of revenue and jobs in those communities were lost.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of wind turbines operate throughout the world, hundreds in our neighboring states, and several dozen in Wisconsin. Wind power development is a premium source of energy and economic development.
Enough already with fake controversy, egged on with stir-the-pot journalism. Time to act on our state motto: Forward.
The business of art
I was so glad to see your article on the "Art as Business as Art" course at UW-Madison ("No Need to Starve," 9/18/09), which emphasized that three of the speakers will be doing talks available to the general public. Your readers may want to know that UW's Continuing Studies program is doing a series of non-credit classes called "Learning the Business Side of Art," which are available to everyone. See dcs.wisc.edu/lsa/art/business.htm.
The UW's department of art has been offering "Professional Practices in the Arts" classes for the last 10 years.
Leslee Nelson, Art professor, UW-Madison
Eisen right on Edgewater
I just finished reading Marc Eisen's column ("Edgewater Subsidy Not Worth It," 9/25/09) and couldn't be happier! As someone who lives in the neighborhood and attended the "big meet" where the developer laid out his reasons for needing TIF, I could have screamed at the stupidity of it.
I'm for some kind of redevelopment - let's face it, the Edgewater is looking pretty sad and limited - but let's not go crazy and make up reasons that are completely out of scale with reality.
All I can say is: MARC EISEN FOR MAYOR! Seriously.
Maybe he thought he was in England
Your "Week in Review" listing for Sept. 19 jokes that a man driving on the wrong side of the Beltline maybe thought he was in Europe (9/25/09).
Um, the last time I drove in Europe, two weeks ago, I was driving on the right side of the Autobahn. The only place in Europe that drives on the left is the United Kingdom and part of Ireland. The majority of Europe drives on the same side of the road as we do.