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.
Raj Patel, a fellow at Food First, is a visiting scholar at the UC Berkeley Center for African Studies. He has worked for the World Bank, WTO, and the UN, and he’s also been tear-gassed on four continents protesting them. He is the author of The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy.