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Stuffed and Starved

The Hidden Battle for the World Food System

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.

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. Visit his website at  www.rajpatel.org

“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 No Logo and The Shock Doctrine

“Compelling. At first glance, Raj is another depressing voice in the chorus. But in traveling the world researching the book, he also found hope in international social movements working to create more democratic, sustainable, and joyful food systems.” —Mark Bittman, New York Times

“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

Stuffed and Starved remains a brilliant didactic account of the powerful interests (dis)organizing our food systems, and why, when food is an object of profit, there are no modern solutions to modern problems such as endemic hunger, ill-health and environmental degradation…Raj Patel’s unique sensibility and intelligence in evaluating grassroots alternatives provide a road map to understanding and changing the world through re-centering food as a cultural anchor rather than a product, especially at this moment of environmental uncertainty.” —Philip David McMichael, author of Development and Social Change

“A book full of insight, that makes an important contribution to understanding that the politics of food is not a narrow matter of shopping, ethical or otherwise.” Guardian

“Patel’s broad treatment helps the layman connect the dots, as well as hear the voices of those who occupy the lower rungs of the global food chain.” Time Magazine

“A blistering indictment of the policies of multinational agribusiness conglomerates and charges that their drive for profit at any cost has left the developing world starving while wealthy countries like the United States are experiencing epidemic obesity rates and related health problems.” Newsweek

“I hope this book will be remembered as long as Small is Beautiful has and gain as much influence. Patel has written what we can only hope will be an incredibly influential critique of our food systems…” Publishing News

“For Patel, it is a short step from Western consumers ’engorged and intoxicated’ with cheap processed food to Mexican and Indian farmers committing suicide because they can’t make a living. The ’food industry’s pabulum’ makes us all cogs in an evil machine.” The New Yorker

Michael Pollan’s summer reading: ”I’m hoping this new book will help me make sense of the world food crisis and how it might be eased.” Wall Street Journal

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