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For those with enough money—and that’s most of us in wealthier countries—life is good. We can eat almost anything we want, regardless of where it comes from, what season it is or how much it costs. The world is our dish, laden with more foods than we’ve ever seen in history and more calories than we know what to do with. A continent away, there are more bloated bellies, but this time from malnutrition—seemingly due to a scarcity of food. But these two contrasting worlds are linked, deeply and inextricably. In a timely look at the entire global food chain, Stuffed and Starved asks us to think about the way our food comes to us, to understand how our supermarket shopping makes us complicit in denying freedom to the world’s poorest and to recognize how we ourselves are poisoned by our choices.
Raj Patel, an author uniquely qualified to take a long, broad view of world food production, looks at food systems—the machine most of us don’t even know exists—and the web made up of corporations, the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, farmers’ groups, government agencies and corporate lobbyists. From farm to fork, Patel travels to rural collectives in Brazil, investigates the all-powerful distribution networks, serves up the specific journeys of coffee, soy and high-fructose corn syrup, and visits the kitchens of fast-food restaurants. What he uncovers is the shocking story of commercial greed and helpless hunger that is a key ingredient in everything we eat.
Stuffed and Starved is one of the most shocking investigations into the “haves” feeding off the “have-nots” and a compelling look at how we all suffer the consequences of a food system cooked to a corporate recipe.
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