Although the book tackles some big issues, Global Food Futures is very readable and provides a comprehensive introduction to the wider concerns surrounding agriculture and our ability to feed ourselves in the future. Amongst these uncertainties, there is one thing that we can be sure of, regardless of the way we choose to address these issues, the price of food will inevitably rise in the long term.
In this era of democratic, verbal communications only the most powerful and compelling stories would rise to the top, and these stories, argues Sachs, have fundamental characteristics that are applicable across languages, time and cultures. In a world where people are constantly bomabarded with stories, where every article is competing with a million videos of kittens falling of ledges, only the most powerful and compelling stories will rise to the top.
They must have a clear, moral message, be applicable across language and cultural barriers, and successfully pit good against evil in the fight for the future of our societies. For those of us working to engage the public in a powerful vision of an alternative food system, this book is a must-read, not to be missed.
Feature image by Abhi Sharma.
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We remember the work of Audrey Eyton who contributed to the campaign against overuse of antibiotics. Sign up to our weekly news digest for the latest articles, news and campaigns delivered directly to your inbox. More info Accept and close. Close X. Food Activism: Agency, democracy and economy Carole Counihan and Valeria Siniscalchi Food Activism is essential reading for anyone interested in the politics that surround our food.
Global Food Futures: Feeding the world in Brian Gardener Our future means of producing food have a lot to contend with, from climate change to rising energy costs, and continuing pressure on land and other resources. New report recognises positive role of livestock in climate change mitigation August 8, Sustainable Food Trust welcomes IPCC report which recognises positive role of livestock in climate change mitigation Farming Food Systems News and Reviews.
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Post to Cancel. See pictures of urban farming around the world. With the exhaustion of the soil, the impact of global warming and the inevitably rising price of oil which will affect everything from fertilizer to supermarket electricity bills our industrial style of food production will end sooner or later. Unless Americans radically rethink the way they grow and consume food, they face a future of eroded farmland, hollowed-out countryside, scarier germs, higher health costs and bland taste.
Those savings begin with the remarkable success of one crop: corn. Corn is king on the American farm, with production passing 12 billion bu. But cheap food is not free food, and corn comes with hidden costs. The crop is heavily fertilized both with chemicals like nitrogen and with subsidies from Washington. See the 10 worst fast food meals.
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A lot. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a dollar could buy 1, calories of potato chips or calories of soda but just calories of vegetables or calories of fresh fruit. With the backing of the government, farmers are producing more calories some more per person per day since the s but too many are unhealthy calories.
Our expanding girth is just one consequence of mainstream farming. Another is chemicals. No one doubts the power of chemical fertilizer to pull more crop from a field. American farmers now produce an astounding bu. But the quantity of that fertilizer is flat-out scary: more than 10 million tons for corn alone and nearly 23 million for all crops.
Even as we produce more high-fat, high-calorie foods, we destroy one of our leanest and healthiest sources of protein. See nine kid foods to avoid. Though we might still like to imagine our food being raised by Old MacDonald, chances are your burger or your sausage came from what are called concentrated-animal feeding operations CAFOs , which are every bit as industrial as they sound.
In CAFOs, large numbers of animals 1, or more in the case of cattle and tens of thousands for chicken and pigs are kept in close, concentrated conditions and fattened up for slaughter as fast as possible, contributing to efficiencies of scale and thus lower prices.
For instance: Where does all that manure go? Pound for pound, a pig produces approximately four times the amount of waste a human does, and what factory farms do with that mess gets comparatively little oversight. Most hog waste is disposed of in open-air lagoons, which can overflow in heavy rain and contaminate nearby streams and rivers.
To stay alive and grow in such conditions, farm animals need pharmaceutical help, which can have further damaging consequences for humans. Overuse of antibiotics on farm animals leads, inevitably, to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and the same bugs that infect animals can infect us too. The livestock industry argues that estimates of antibiotics in food production are significantly overblown. But with wonder drugs losing their effectiveness, it makes sense to preserve them for as long as we can, and that means limiting them to human use as much as possible.
Such a measure would get at a symptom of the problem but not at the source. Just as the burning of fossil fuels that is causing global warming requires more than a tweaking of mileage standards, the manifold problems of our food system require a comprehensive solution. And yet, still we must eat. So what can we do? See pictures of an apartment outfitted for goat-milking. That all-natural, noncorn diet along with the intensive, individual care that the Nimans provide their animals produces beef that many connoisseurs consider to be among the best in the world.
But for Niman, there is more at stake than just a good steak. He believes that his way of raising farm animals in the open air, with no chemicals or drugs and with maximum care is the only truly sustainable method and could be a model for a better food system. This November, California voters approved a ballot proposition that guarantees farm animals enough space to lie down, stand up and turn around.
So what will it take for sustainable food production to spread? Since , consolidation and industrialization have seen the number of U. A transition to more sustainable, smaller-scale production methods could even be possible without a loss in overall yield, as one survey from the University of Michigan suggested, but it would require far more farmworkers than we have today. Work in a CAFO is monotonous and soul-killing, while too many ordinary farmers struggle to make ends meet even as the rest of us pay less for food. One model for how the new paradigm could work is Niman Ranch, a larger operation that Bill Niman founded in the s, before he left in The company has knitted together hundreds of small-scale farmers into a network that sells all-natural pork, beef and lamb to retailers and restaurants.
In doing so, it leverages economies of scale while letting the farmers take proper care of their land and animals. Other examples include the Mexican-fast-food chain Chipotle, which now sources its pork from Niman Ranch and gets its other meats and much of its beans from natural and organic sources.
Local, The New Face of Food and Farming in America by Douglas Gayeton | | Booktopia
See pictures of the effects of global warming. The company sources as much of its produce as possible from within miles of its kitchens and gets its meat from farmers who eschew antibiotics. That includes campaigns to reduce food waste, in part by encouraging servers at its kitchens to offer smaller, more manageable portions. See pictures of two farms in Nebraska. How willing are consumers to rethink the way they shop for and eat food? For most people, price will remain the biggest obstacle.
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But not all costs can be measured by a price tag. Once you factor in crop subsidies, ecological damage and what we pay in health-care bills after our fatty, sugary diet makes us sick, conventionally produced food looks a lot pricier. Niman takes care with each of his cattle, just as an organic farmer takes care of his produce and smart shoppers take care with what they put in their shopping cart and on the family dinner table.
Wegmans, Wal-Mart and Target followed with three out of 10 points. Safeway, Aldi, Kroger and Costco rounded out the top 10 supermarkets by scoring two out of 10 points. All grocers surveyed sold fish from the Red List, which includes certain tuna varieties, Atlantic halibut, orange roughy and Chilean Sea Bass.