Food for A Finite Planet

Book - 2013
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By 2050, the world population is expected to reach nine billion. And the challenge of feeding this rapidly growing population is being made greater by climate change, which will increasingly wreak havoc on the way we produce our food. At the same time, we have lost touch with the soil--few of us know where our food comes from, let alone how to grow it--and we are at the mercy of multinational corporations who control the crops and give little thought to the damage their methods are inflicting on the planet. Our very future is at risk. In Consumed , Sarah Elton walks fields and farms on three continents, not only investigating the very real threats to our food, but also telling the little-known stories of the people who are working against time to create a new and hopeful future. From the mountains of southern France to the highlands of China, from the crowded streets of Nairobi to the banks of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec, we meet people from all walks of life who are putting together an alternative to the omnipresent industrial food system. In the arid fields of rural India we meet a farmer who has transformed her community by selling organic food directly to her neighbors. We visit a laboratory in Toronto where scientists are breeding a new kind of rice seed that they claim will feed the world. We learn about Italy's underground food movement; how university grads are returning to the fields in China, Greece, and France; and how in Detroit, plots of vacant land planted with kale and carrots can help us see what's possible. Food might be the problem, but as Elton shows, it is also the solution. The food system as we know it was assembled in a few decades--and if it can be built that quickly, it can be reassembled and improved in the same amount of time. Elton here lays out the targets we need to meet by the year 2050. The stories she tells give us hope for avoiding a daunting fate and instead help us to believe in a not-too-distant future when we can all sit at the table.
Publisher: Chicago : The University of Chicago Press, 2013
Copyright Date: ©2013
ISBN: 9780226093628
Characteristics: 348 pages ; 24 cm


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Apr 19, 2019

Essential reading about the future of food, and the baneful impact of agribusiness on the direction in which it is moving. The combination of patenting of organisms and the growth of patent thickets, and the way that modern hybrid seeds somehow only benefit the seed and chemical companies, makes it clear that something is amiss with the way modern industrial farming has developed and threatens to take over the food supply entirely. Far from being an ideological reaction, this work is a well researched and objective view of the situation, that should ring alarm bells in all of us.

Sep 03, 2013

There is a lot of contradiction in this book. She seems to favour small scale farming but the examples she uses like the farmers that are nearly starving in China rice mountainside rice farms are not actually the way to go. She thinks that we cannot afford to use animal protein as they consume a lot of input to grow (which is true) but uses a long horn farmer in southern Ontario as an example of 'ecological farming' because he uses local plants on his farm to feed them but takes twice as long to mature to usable meat. I think she's a bit of a dreamer that probably has never had to actually work on a farm to earn a living. I have and peasant farming is not the solution to feed 9 Billion people in 2050.

Aug 15, 2013

A solid read for anyone interested in food, farms, and sustainable growing issues. A nice compliment to Elton's previous book, Locavore. I would have liked for some sections to have gone more in-depth, like the chapter on urban farming in Detroit, but overall, a thumbs up.


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