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Stuffed and Starved

The Hidden Battle for the World Food System

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Paperback published by Melville House (Melville House)

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Revised and Expanded Edition

"For anyone attempting to make sense of the world food crisis, or understand the links between U.S. farm policy and the ability of the world's poor to feed themselves, Stuffed and Starved is indispensable."
—Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma

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.
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Revised and Expanded Edition

"For anyone attempting to make sense of the world food crisis, or understand the links between U.S. farm policy and the ability of the world's poor to feed themselves, Stuffed and Starved is indispensable."
—Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma

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.
Product Details
Paperback (432 pages)
Published: June 5, 2012
Publisher: Melville House
Imprint: Melville House
ISBN: 9781612191270
Other books byRaj Patel
  • The Value of Nothing

    The Value of Nothing
    How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine...
    "A deeply though-provoking book about the dramatic changes we must make to save the planet from financial madness."--Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine Opening with Oscar Wilde's observation that "nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing," Patel shows how our faith in prices as a way of valuing the world is misplaced.  He reveals the hidden ecological and social costs of a hamburger (as much as $200), and asks how we came to have markets in the first place.  Both the corporate capture of government and our current financial crisis, Patel argues, are a result of our democratically bankrupt political system. If part one asks how we can rebalance society and limit markets, part two answers by showing how social organizations, in America and around the globe, are finding new ways to describe the world's worth.  If we don't want the market to price every aspect of our lives, we need to learn how such organizations have discovered democratic ways in which people, and not simply governments, can play a crucial role in deciding how we might share our world and its resources in common. This short, timely and inspiring book reveals that our current crisis is not simply the result of too much of the wrong kind of economics.  While we need to rethink our economic model, Patel argues that the larger failure beneath the food, climate and economic crises is a political one.  If economics is about choices, Patel writes, it isn't often said who gets to make them.  The Value of Nothing offers a fresh and accessible way to think about economics and the choices we will all need to make in order to create a sustainable economy and society.

    Food Movements Unite!

    Food Movements Unite!
    Strategies to Transform Our Food System
    Food Movements Unite! Strategies to transform our food systems The present corporate food regime dominating the planet’s food systems is environmentally destructive, financially volatile and socially unjust. Though the regime’s contributions to the planet’s four-fold food-fuel-finance and climate crises are well documented, the “solutions” advanced by our national and global institutions reinforce the same destructive technological path, the same global market fundamentalism, and the same unregulated consolidation of corporate power in the food system that brought us the crisis in the first place. A dynamic global food movement has risen up in the face of this sustained corporate assault on our food systems. Around the world, local food justice activists have taken back pieces of the food system through local gardening, organic farming, community-supported agriculture, farmers markets, and locally-owned processing and retail operations. Food sovereignty advocates have organized locally and internationally for land reform, the end of destructive free trade agreements, and support for family farmers, women and peasants. Protests against—and viable alternatives to—the expansion of GMOs, agrofuels, land grabs and the oligopolistic control of our food, are growing everywhere every day, giving the impression that food movements are literally “breaking through the asphalt” of a reified corporate food regime. The social and political convergence of the “practitioners” and “advocates” in these food movements is also well underway, as evidenced by the growing trend in local-regional food policy councils in the US, coalitions for food sovereignty spreading across Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe, and the increasing attention to practical-political solutions to the food crisis appearing in academic literature and the popular media. The global food movement springs from strong commitments to food justice, food democracy and food sovereignty on the part of thousands of farmers unions, consumer groups, faith-based, civil society and community organizations across the urban-rural and north-south divides of our food systems. This magnificent “movement of movements” is widespread, highly diverse, refreshingly creative—and politically amorphous. Many publications point to the hopeful initiatives in food production-processing-distribution and consumption; and many analyses unpack and identify the structural impediments to a fair and sustainable food system. However, there has been little strategic reflection on just how to get from where we are: a broad but marginalized collection of hopeful alternatives—to where we need to be: the norm. Unfortunately, social, environmental and economic visions of what a good food system should look like are rarely accompanied by a clear political vision of how to roll back the corporate food regime and rollout the transformation of the world’s food system. Food Movements Unite! will be a collection of essays by food movement leaders from around the world that all seek to answer the perennial political question: What is to be done? The answers—from the multiple perspectives of community food security activists, peasants and family farm leaders, labor activists, and leading food systems analysts—will lay out convergent strategies for the fair, sustainable, and democratic transformation of our food systems. Authors will address the corporate food regime head on, arguing persuasively not only for specific changes to the way our food is produced, processed, distributed and consumed, but specifying how these changes may come about, politically.

    Promised Land

    Promised Land
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    Food Movements Unite!

    Food Movements Unite!
    Strategies to Transform Our Food System
    Food Movements Unite! Strategies to transform our food systems The present corporate food regime dominating the planet’s food systems is environmentally destructive, financially volatile and socially unjust. Though the regime’s contributions to the planet’s four-fold food-fuel-finance and climate crises are well documented, the “solutions” advanced by our national and global institutions reinforce the same destructive technological path, the same global market fundamentalism, and the same unregulated consolidation of corporate power in the food system that brought us the crisis in the first place. A dynamic global food movement has risen up in the face of this sustained corporate assault on our food systems. Around the world, local food justice activists have taken back pieces of the food system through local gardening, organic farming, community-supported agriculture, farmers markets, and locally-owned processing and retail operations. Food sovereignty advocates have organized locally and internationally for land reform, the end of destructive free trade agreements, and support for family farmers, women and peasants. Protests against—and viable alternatives to—the expansion of GMOs, agrofuels, land grabs and the oligopolistic control of our food, are growing everywhere every day, giving the impression that food movements are literally “breaking through the asphalt” of a reified corporate food regime. The social and political convergence of the “practitioners” and “advocates” in these food movements is also well underway, as evidenced by the growing trend in local-regional food policy councils in the US, coalitions for food sovereignty spreading across Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe, and the increasing attention to practical-political solutions to the food crisis appearing in academic literature and the popular media. The global food movement springs from strong commitments to food justice, food democracy and food sovereignty on the part of thousands of farmers unions, consumer groups, faith-based, civil society and community organizations across the urban-rural and north-south divides of our food systems. This magnificent “movement of movements” is widespread, highly diverse, refreshingly creative—and politically amorphous. Many publications point to the hopeful initiatives in food production-processing-distribution and consumption; and many analyses unpack and identify the structural impediments to a fair and sustainable food system. However, there has been little strategic reflection on just how to get from where we are: a broad but marginalized collection of hopeful alternatives—to where we need to be: the norm. Unfortunately, social, environmental and economic visions of what a good food system should look like are rarely accompanied by a clear political vision of how to roll back the corporate food regime and rollout the transformation of the world’s food system. Food Movements Unite! will be a collection of essays by food movement leaders from around the world that all seek to answer the perennial political question: What is to be done? The answers—from the multiple perspectives of community food security activists, peasants and family farm leaders, labor activists, and leading food systems analysts—will lay out convergent strategies for the fair, sustainable, and democratic transformation of our food systems. Authors will address the corporate food regime head on, arguing persuasively not only for specific changes to the way our food is produced, processed, distributed and consumed, but specifying how these changes may come about, politically.

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