Monday Review: The No-Nonsense Guide to World Food

23 Nov

The No-Nonesense Guide to World Food by Wayne Roberts

Reviewed by Stephanie Dickison

This  is a serious tome about the food crisis that we are currently facing.

And though it could be a dry, discouraging read, it is gripping and fascinating – and wouldn’t you agree rather timely?

If there was ever a time to read a book like this, it’s now.  Roberts lays out the stark situation of conflicting food systems, the role of government, food sovereignty and other issues with aplomb and heart.

He gives the vital statistics, but explains what they mean (for those of us not as academically savvy as those compiling the stats), thank goodness.  He breaks down documents and organizations in layman’s terms so that we, the regular citizen can follow along.  He tells us where our food is coming from and how much it REALLY costs.  The truths that he reveals are staggering:

– About 170 million food producers are child labourers, which speaks to the poverty and mistreatment subsidizing low food prices

– The global advertising budget for the food industry in 2001 was $40 billion, which is more money than the gross domestic product of 70 percent of the world’s countries.

This is a sobering look at how we are living and eating and what we should be doing to improve our lives and those of others.  There is hope though.  As Roberts writes,

“The food scene in many cities is full to busting with experiments by social entrepreneurs, co-ops, community agencies and non-governmental organizations.  Community gardens, green roofs, community kitchens, farm-to-school meal programs, Seedy Saturday heritage seed exchanged, farmers’ markets, cool restaurant districts, slow food banquets, food policy councils and city food strategies are the talk of the town.”

The importance of this book is clear – the change has to come from us – the individual first – before we can change the world.

I’m in.  How about you?

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