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Foodopoly: The Battle Over the Future of Food and Farming in Americaby Wenonah Hauter
Synopses & Reviews
Wenonah Hauter is the executive director of Food and Water Watch, but she also runs an organic family farm in Northern Virginia that provides healthy vegetables to over five hundred families in the Washington, D.C., area as part of the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Despite this, as one of the nations leading healthy food advocates, Hauter believes that the local food movement is not enough to solve Americas food crisis and the public health debacle it has created. In Foodopoly, she takes aim at the real culprit: the massive consolidation and corporate control of food production, which prevents farmers from raising healthy crops and limits the choices that people can make in the grocery store.
Through meticulous research, Hauter presents a shocking account of how agricultural policy has been hijacked by lobbyists, driving out independent farmers and food processors in favor of the likes of Cargill, Tyson, Kraft, and ConAgra. She demonstrates how the impacts ripple far and wide, from economic stagnation in rural communities at home, to famines in poor countries overseas. In the end, Hauter illustrates how solving this crisis will require a complete structural shift, a grassroots movement to reshape our food system from seed to table — a change that is about politics, not just personal choice.
"In a meticulously researched tour de force, Hauter, the executive director of Food & Water Watch, examines the pernicious effects of consolidation in every sector of the food industry. Not only has deregulation and the weakening of antitrust laws led to a significant reduction of competition, it has failed to allow the consumer to benefit from the economies of scale achieved by larger production facilities. More dangerous for our democracy, Hauter argues, the surviving firms have used their wealth to capture the political system in order to rewrite the regulations for their benefit. They have persuaded governments to subsidize their irrigation costs with publicly funded water projects; successfully pushed for the enactment of the Cuban sugar tariff, which directly led to high-fructose corn syrup becoming the sweetener of choice; and weakened oversight by federal bureaucracies, preventing the FDA from testing meat for contamination before and during processing. In fact, Hauter suggests, the FDA is no longer capable of enforcing its regulations at all and must resort to persuasion and, at times, begging. Though alarming, Hauter's argument is undermined by her resort to the suggestion of conspiracy on occasion. Overall, though, the book deserves a place on the shelf beside the burgeoning journalistic explorations of the dangers of the current system." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"A shocking and powerful reminder of the distance between our image of the family farmer and the corporate agribusiness reality. Make sure you read it before dinner." Bill McKibben, author of Earth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
"Foodopoly is a meticulously documented account of how we have lost control of our food system, as well as a roadmap for taking it back. We must respond to this call to action." Steve Gliessman, Professor Emeritus of Agroecology, UC-Santa Cruz
"Food is life. Today food and life are being hijacked by corporations — seed by Monsanto, trade by Cargill and giant agribusiness, retail by Walmart. And our earth, our farmers, our health are being sacrificed to increase corporate profits and control over our food systems. This is the story Hauter tells in Foodopoly. This is a story we must hear in order to create food democracy and food freedom." Dr. Vandana Shiva
"Wenonah Hauter knows where the bodies are buried beneath the amber waves of grain. This is a terrific primer on the corporate control of food in the US, and the actions of those who fight back. By turns heartbreaking, infuriating and inspiring, Foodopoly is required reading for anyone who wants to understand both the scale of the challenge in reclaiming our food system, and the urgency for doing so." Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System
"This may be the most important book on the politics of food ever written in the US. Hauter doesn't buy the notion that we can buy our way to a healthy future. She puts the blame for our food crisis squarely where it belongs: on the political and agribusiness leaders who benefit from a corporate-dominated food system. Read this essential book and take action!" Maude Barlow, author of Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Fight for the Right to Water
"Foodopoly makes a compelling case for how corporate consolidation and control of the food supply are at the root cause of a host of problems. Hauter is absolutely right that unless we break the stranglehold of corporate power with significant policy change, such as enforcing federal antitrust laws, the food movement will continue to have only marginal success." Michele Simon, president of Eat Drink Politics and author of Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines Our Health and How to Fight Back
"We all know how Monopoly ends: one person corners Boardwalk and Park Place and the rest are screwed. Winner-take-all is fine for a board game, but disastrous, as Wenonah Hauter reveals in this important new book, when it comes to our food. In compelling prose, Hauter breaks down why the concentration of corporate power over food matters—and what we can do about it. Kudos to Hauter for this vital book — essential reading for anyone who wants safe food and clean water." Anna Lappé, founder, Food Mythbusters and author, Diet for a Hot Planet
About the Author
Wenonah Hauter is the executive director of Food and Water Watch, a D.C.-based watchdog organization focused on corporate and government accountability relating to food, water, and fishing. She has worked and written extensively on food, water, energy, and environmental issues at the national, state, and local levels. She owns a working farm in The Plains, Virginia.
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