Synopses & Reviews
How can starving people also be obese?
Why does everything have soy in it?
How do petrochemicals and biofuels control the price of food?
It's a perverse fact of modern life: There are more starving people in the world than ever before (800 million) while there are also more people overweight (1 billion).
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." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"One of the most dazzling books I have read in a very long time. The product of a brilliant mind and a gift to a world hungering for justice." Naomi Klein, author of
The Shock Doctrine
Half the world is malnourished, the other half obese-both symptoms of the corporate food monopoly. To show how a few powerful distributors control the health of the entire world, Raj Patel conducts a global investigation, traveling from the "green deserts"of Brazil and protester-packed streets of South Korea to bankrupt Ugandan coffee farms and barren fields of India. What he uncovers is shocking the real reasons for famine in Asia and Africa, an epidemic of farmer suicides, and the false choices and conveniences in supermarkets. Yet he also finds hope in international resistance movements working to create a more democratic, sustainable, and joyful food system.
From seed to store to plate, Stuffed and Starvedexplains the steps to regain control of the global food economy, stop the exploitation of farmers and consumers, and rebalance global sustenance.
About the Author
RAJ PATEL, former policy analyst for Food First, a leading food think tank, is a visiting scholar at the UC Berkeley Center for African Studies. He has written for the Los Angeles Times and The Financial Times, and though he has worked for the World Bank, WTO and the UN, he's also been tear-gassed on four continents protesting them.