The University of British Columbia

UBC Connects SVG
presented by Santa J. Ono

Michael Pollan

Food, plants and psychedelics: Revolutionary approaches to human health and well-being

This event took place on Monday, February 11, 2019
at the the Orpheum Theatre, (Map)
In partnership with alumni UBC

Media Partner: The Georgia Straight

With support from the BC Centre on Substance Use and the Faculty of Land and Food Systems


About the Talk:

Michael Pollan’s influence on North America’s eating habits cannot be overstated. His examinations into the food industry, nutrition and sustainable agriculture—encapsulated by his exhortation to “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants”—sparked a revolution in our attitudes toward food. From supermarket bins proudly displaying local organic produce, to the high-end restaurant putting a gourmet spin on the humble beet, Pollan’s farm-to-fork philosophy has touched us all.

Pollan’s latest work has continued to explore the intersection of humans and nature, with a deep dive into the world of psychedelics. He offers insights into the re-emergence of drugs such as LSD, psilocybin and ayahuasca in the treatment of mental health illness and pain, and his own personal explorations into altered consciousness.

This unique event featured Pollan in conversation with moderators Rickey Yada, Dean of UBC’s Faculty of Land and Food Systems, and Dr. Evan Wood, Executive Director of the BC Centre on Substance Use and UBC Professor of Medicine.

About the Speaker:

A contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine since 1987, Michael Pollan has spent the past 30 years as a writer exploring the interactions of humans and nature. He has written a series of influential and bestselling books that include In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto (2008) and The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (2006), which won a number of awards, among them the California Book Award and the James Bear Award for best food writing.

His latest book, How to Change Your Mind, immediately claimed the top spot on the New York Times list when it hit bookshelves this past May. Both deeply personal and rigorously science-based, it is an investigation into the power of psychedelics to treat and comfort those who struggling with mental illness, terminal disease and emotional pain.

In addition to writing, Pollan has appeared in a number of documentaries, including the Academy Award-nominated Food Inc. In 2003, he was appointed the John S. and Janes L. Knight Professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism and the director of the Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism. Since 2017, he has been Professor of the Practice of Non-Fiction at Harvard University.

Event Archive

Social Commentary

November 15, 2022

UBC Connects with Fran Lebowitz

An evening with Fran Lebowitz


October 27, 2022

UBC Connects with Tanya Talaga

Covering the Apocalypse: What it is like being an Indigenous journalist in Canada


April 20, 2022

UBC Connects Masterclass with Dr. Roland Paris

The Ukraine Crisis and Europe’s Future: A New Cold War?

Social Theory

January 25, 2022

UBC Connects Masterclass with Gurminder K Bhambra

Decolonising Social Theory


December 2, 2021

UBC Connects with Michelle Good

Education through dialogue: the human cost of colonialism


May 18, 2021

UBC Connects Masterclass with Maaza Mengiste

Pluralism: Strengthening respect for diversity

Social Justice

March 12, 2021

UBC Connects with Desmond Cole and Robyn Maynard

Beyond the Police state: a conversation with Desmond Cole and Robyn Maynard


March 4, 2021

UBC Connects Masterclass with Kevin Kwan

Represent, Represent: The stories we tell change the world around us


November 3, 2020

UBC Connects with Justice Edwin Cameron

Prisons and the F-word: Has the time come for a fundamental rethink?


September 23, 2020

UBC Connects with James Makokis and Anthony Johnson

“Our Existences Are Political”: Identity and History as Pathways for Transformation


July 31, 2020

UBC Connects Masterclass with Vandana Shiva

The Future of Food and Farming in a Pandemic World

Bassem Youssef


March 2, 2020

UBC Connects with Bassem Youssef

The Middle Eastern Monologues



November 25, 2019

UBC Connects with Donna Strickland

Laser Focus: Insight from a Nobel Laureate



November 4, 2019

UBC Connects with Ziya Tong

Blind Spots: Rethinking Your Reality



September 10, 2019

UBC Connects with Helen Fisher

Swipe, Right?: The Future of Romantic Relationships in the Digital Age



March 13, 2019

UBC Connects with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is an award-winning Nigerian author whose work has been translated into over thirty languages.



March 6, 2019

UBC Connects with Tarana Burke

A movement that empowers: “Me too” and the role of empathy in healing and change

John Kasich


February 26, 2019

UBC Connects with John Kasich

Two-term former Ohio Governor John R. Kasich is a politician, a New York Times best-selling author, and a Senior Political Commentator for CNN



February 11, 2019

UBC Connects with Michael Pollan

Food, plants and psychedelics: Revolutionary approaches to human health and well-being

Isabel Allende


November 20, 2018

UBC Connects with Isabel Allende

The Alchemy of Truth: The power of story to change the world

Michio Kaku


September 26, 2018

UBC Connects with Michio Kaku

The Universe in a Nutshell: Why physics is the key to pretty much everything

Waneek Horn-Miller


April 19, 2018

UBC Connects with Waneek Horn-Miller

The Wisdom of Reconciliation: A roadmap for multiculturalism

Jeremy Rifkin


March 8, 2018

UBC Connects with Jeremy Rifkin

The Third Industrial Revolution: Can we prevent the next mass extinction of life on Earth?

Thank you for supporting UBC Connects.