Michael Pollan and “In Defense of Food: The Omnivore’s Solution.”

Go Big Read is the university’s new common-reading program, intended to engage all readers — students, faculty, staff and the community — in a shared academically focused experience. Chancellor Biddy Martin selected Michael Pollan’s “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto,” which examines modern American food culture, nutrition and health.

On Thursday, Sept. 24, Pollan will visit UW–Madison and discuss “In Defense of Food” in a free, public event at 7 p.m. at the Kohl Center. No tickets are required to attend.   Pollan’s Thursday talk is titled “In Defense of Food: The Omnivore’s Solution” and will focus on the American diet and health.

At 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 25, a panel discussion on the book will be held at the Wisconsin Union Theater. The panel, which features Pollan with alumni and faculty from a range of fields, which highlight thoughtful critical engagements from “In Defense of Food.”

Panelists include Pollan; Susan Lampert Smith, a science writer for UW Health; and John Vrieze, the third-generation owner of Vrieze Farms Inc. and a member of the College of Agricultural and Life Science’s board of visitors.

If you can’t make Pollan’s lecture, Wisconsin Alumni Association will be streaming both the Thursday lecture and the Friday panel.

Remaining HSLC events for this week include Dr. Zorba Paster discussing his book The Longevity Code, on Thursday, Sept. 24, at 12:15 in room 1335, and a book discussion of In Defense of Food on Friday, Sept. 25, at noon, in room 1225.

Additional events related to the culture and politics of food, sustainable agriculture, public health and environmental journalism are planned throughout the year. The program has a book-discussion kit and has trained 65 facilitators to spur discussion of the book in groups on campus and in the community. Readers may also participate in a virtual book group by sharing thoughts and ideas on the Go Big Read blog.