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Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World's Food System

Patel, Raj

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The hidden complexities and terrifying simplicities of a planet squeezing itself dry in order to make half its citizens obese and the other half malnourished. This work is for lovers of Fast Food Nation, No Logo and Not on the Label, and of Supersize Me and Jamie's Dinners. We have so much choice over what we eat today because rural communities the world over have had their choices taken away. To understand how our supermarket shopping makes us complicit in a system that routinely denies freedom to the world's poorest, and how we ourselves are poisoned by these choices, we need to think about the way our food comes to us. "Stuffed and Starved" takes a long and wide view of food production, to show how we all suffer the consequences of a food system cooked to a corporate recipe. This is also the story of the fight against the unthinking commerce that brings it to us. In the wrecked paddy fields of India, in the soy deserts of Brazil, in the maize ejidos of Mexico, the supermarket aisles of California, French McDonald's and Italian kitchens, there's a worldwide resistance against unhealthy control of the food system.

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At no other time in history have people in wealthy countries had so much choice and so much abundance in what to eat. But in countries locked in a vicious cycle of poverty, there is no choice. There is no food.
Raj Patel shows us that these two extremes are deeply and inextricably linked. InStuffed and Starved, he asks us to think about the way our food comes to us, to understand how what we buy directly affects the world's poorest citizens and to recognize how we ourselves are poisoned by our choices. Patel gives us a broad view of the global food industry and the all-encompassing machine composed of organizations such as the World Bank and the WTO, corporate lobbyists, government agencies and the all-powerful distribution networks. He also traces the specific journey of coffee, soy and high-fructose corn syrup, from the fields to the kitchens of fast-food restaurants.Stuffed and Starvedis a shocking and timely story of commercial greed, desperate hunger and inspirational alternatives to the current food system.

About the Author:

Raj Patel was educated at Oxford, the LSE, and Cornell. A former fellow at Yale and Berkeley, he is now at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He has worked for the World Bank, interned at the WTO, consulted for the UN, and been tear-gassed on four continents protesting against his former employers. He is one of only a few activists trusted to work with the Via Campesina peasant movement. He also co-edits a webzine "The Voice of the Turtle", and is the secret author of a widely-praised series of heartwarming tales about a bear, his best friend, and socialism with Chinese characteristics: The Mao of Pooh.

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