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Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandalby Tristram Stuart
Synopses & Reviews
With shortages, volatile prices and nearly one billion people hungry, the world has a food problem--or thinks it does. Farmers, manufacturers, supermarkets and consumers in North America and Europe discard up to half of their food--enough to feed all the world's hungry at least three times over. Forests are destroyed and nearly one tenth of the West's greenhouse gas emissions are released growing food that will never be eaten. While affluent nations throw away food through neglect, in the developing world crops rot because farmers lack the means to process, store and transport them to market.
But there could be surprisingly painless remedies for what has become one of the world's most pressing environmental and social problems. Waste traces the problem around the globe from the top to the bottom of the food production chain. Stuart's journey takes him from the streets of New York to China, Pakistan and Japan and back to his home in England. Introducing us to foraging pigs, potato farmers and food industry CEOs, Stuart encounters grotesque examples of profligacy, but also inspiring innovations and ways of making the most of what we have. The journey is a personal one, as Stuart is a dedicated freegan, who has chosen to live off of discarded or self-produced food in order to highlight the global food waste scandal.
Combining front-line investigation with startling new data, Waste shows how the way we live now has created a global food crisis--and what we can do to fix it.
"Stuart (The Bloodless Revolution) writes of the perilous illusion of abundance and how countries can reduce food waste by accurately examining how much they toss away due to poor storage or unused surplus — and why. European and American food manufacturers, supermarkets and consumers throw away between 30% and 50% of their food supply — enough to feed the world's hungry. Waste also occurs as a result of inadequate harvesting and farming techniques, prevalent in countries like Pakistan, where the author examines the need for better grain harvesting and land cultivation. Stuart's thoughtful illumination of the problem and his proposed solutions are bound to get even the most complacent citizen thinking about how slowly wilting vegetables might have a second life. Simply growing more food, Stuart argues, is not necessarily the answer. Agriculture takes up space and often results in deforestation. If rich countries could cut waste by treating food more carefully, while developing countries gained the equipment necessary to improve their output, he contends, a significant reduction in global food waste — and even global hunger — could be achieved. Stuart's brief is passionately argued and rigorously researched, and is an important contribution to the discussion of sustainability." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Book News Annotation:
In the developing world, much food spoils before it can get to market. In developed countries, a huge amount of perfectly good food is wasted by farmers, manufacturers, food markets, and consumers--as much as 50 percent in the U.S., according to some estimates. Stuart examines waste in the world's food supply system, and suggests that there are fairly painles ways to end that waste, some of which are as simple as making the "best by" and "use by" dates on foods easier for people to understand. The book includes 16 pages of color photographs, some of which eloquently illustrate the magnitude of food waste all by themselves. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
The true cost of what the global food industry throws away.
Shocking Facts from Tristram Stuart's Waste:
The world thinks it has a huge food problem'"with dire shortages, environmental degradation, and nearly one billion people going hungry. But Tristram Stuart reveals some surprisingly painless solutions in this frontline investigation and personal journey into one of the world"s most pressing environmental and social problems. In Waste, Stuart points out that farmers, manufacturers, supermarkets, and consumers in North America and Europe discard between 30 and 50 percent of their food supplies'"enough to feed all the world"s hungry three times over. Forests are destroyed and nearly one tenth of the West"s greenhouse gas emissions are released in growing food that will never be eaten. Introducing us to a motley cast of foraging pigs, potato farmers, food industry CEOs, and freegan cooks, and traveling from China to New York, from Pakistan to Japan, Stuart encounters grotesque examples of profligacy but also inspiring innovations. The result is essential reading for anyone keen to understand how our waste has created a global food crisis.
About the Author
Tristram Stuart has been a freelance writer for Indian newspapers, a project manager in Kosovo and a prominent critic of the food industry. He has made regular contributions to television documentaries, radio and newspapers on the social and environmental aspects of food. His first book, The Bloodless Revolution--'magnificently detailed and wide-ranging' (New Yorker)--was published in 2007, and Waste in 2009. A graduate of Cambridge University, he lives in England, where he rears pigs, chickens and bees.
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