The Omnivore’s Dilemma


Michael Pollan

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George Naylor Character Analysis

Naylor runs the farm in Iowa that Pollan visits to learn about industrially-farmed corn. Naylor’s farm, which was passed down to him from his grandfather, contributes to the region’s giant supply of corn (which he sees as part of “the military-industrial complex”), and the farm suffers from the same issues that plague all modern corn farmers. He does his best to keep costs down by rotating his crops to replenish the soil, and he refuses to use GMO corn or other new technological developments in farm machinery. Therefore, although his yield is smaller, he makes more money from it.

George Naylor Quotes in The Omnivore’s Dilemma

The The Omnivore’s Dilemma quotes below are all either spoken by George Naylor or refer to George Naylor. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Bloomsbury edition of The Omnivore’s Dilemma published in 2006.
Chapter 2 Quotes

The 129 people who depend on George Naylor for their sustenance are all strangers, living at the far end of a food chain so long, intricate, and obscure that neither producer nor consumer has any reason to know the first thing about the other. Ask one of those eaters where their steak or soda comes from and she’ll tell you “the supermarket.”

Related Characters: Michael Pollan (speaker), George Naylor
Page Number: 34-35
Explanation and Analysis:
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George Naylor Character Timeline in The Omnivore’s Dilemma

The timeline below shows where the character George Naylor appears in The Omnivore’s Dilemma. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: The Farm
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1. One Farmer, 129 Eaters. Pollan visits George Naylor on his 320-acre farm in Iowa, which has been in his family since his grandfather... (full context)
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Despite the fact that Naylor’s farm produces enough corn to feed 129 people, his crops aren’t sold directly as food.... (full context)
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2. Planting the City of Corn. Pollan helps Naylor plant corn, endlessly going over rows and rows in the tractor and marveling at the... (full context)
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...and soybeans than to farm the diversified holdings of the past. As a result, George Naylor’s local town is a “ghost town”—the middle school can’t even field a football team. (full context)
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5. A Plague of Cheap Corn. George Naylor explains to Pollan how corn came to be so heavily subsidized by the government. Policies... (full context)
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7. The Naylor Curve. As corn prices have declined, farmers have continued to produce more in order to... (full context)
Chapter 3: The Elevator 
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Pollan visits the grain elevator where Naylor and other farmers in the surrounding area deposit their corn every year. Disturbed by the... (full context)
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...of railroads and grain elevators, which combine corn by region. Pollan now begins to understand Naylor’s claim that he grows food for “the military-industrial complex.” (full context)
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...the measurement of success. The Iowa Farmers Cooperative and the U.S. Department of Agriculture pay Naylor for his corn. Instead of keeping the supply and price of corn relatively stable, as... (full context)
Chapter 4: The Feedlot: Making Meat
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...sanitation, this city has more in common with fourteenth-century London. Having started out on George Naylor’s farm, Pollan realizes that this city is not just built on a mountain of corn.... (full context)
Chapter 8: All Flesh is Grass
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3. Industrial Organic. Pollan notes that Salatin’s farm is in many ways the opposite of Naylor’s: pastoral rather than industrial, biological rather than mechanical, a polyculture (i.e. a farm that grows... (full context)
Chapter 13: The Market: "Greetings from the Non-Barcode People"
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...often find ways to get around the system and produce food on their own. George Naylor, for instance, compared today’s farmer’s markets to the hidden plots of local farmers who worked... (full context)