Completely updated and revised edition of one of the most widely-praised food books of recent years.
It’s a perverse fact of modern life: There are more starving people in the world than ever before, while there are also more people who are overweight.
To find out how we got to this point and what we can do about it, Raj Patel launched a comprehensive investigation into the global food network. It took him from the colossal supermarkets of California to India’s wrecked paddy-fields and Africa’s bankrupt coffee farms, while along the way he ate genetically engineered soy beans and dodged flying objects in the protestor-packed streets of South Korea.
What he found was shocking, from the false choices given us by supermarkets to a global epidemic of farmer suicides, and real reasons for famine in Asia and Africa.
Yet he also found great cause for hope—in international resistance movements working to create a more democratic, sustainable and joyful food system. Going beyond ethical consumerism, Patel explains, from seed to store to plate, the steps to regain control of the global food economy, stop the exploitation of both farmers and consumers, and rebalance global sustenance.
Journalist and scholar Patel (Promised Land: Competing Visions of Agrarian Reform) focuses attention on the unfortunate irony of the current world food situation, in which the imbalance of world resources has created an epidemic of obesity in some parts of the world while millions in the "Global South" endure starvation. To make sense of the situation, Patel addresses the entire system of global food production, distribution and sale, concluding that "unless you're a corporate food executive, the food system isn't working for you." "Record levels of diet-related disease" plague consumers, cruel market realities (and unsympathetic officials) doom farmers, and communities are beset by a supermarket system that provides "cheap calories" while "bleeding local economies." Patel analyzes what can be done, presenting logical recommendations and strategies for individuals-eat locally, seasonally, and ecologically; support local business, workers' rights, and living wages; create a sustainable food system-though several primary components of his big vision (including ending agribusiness subsidies and corporate farming, and levying a tax on processed foods) are clearly a long way off. Those concerned about global health, social justice and the environment will be aware of many of the issues presented here, but should still find much to learn.