Economics Globalization

Global Food Crisis

You’ve probably been hearing about the growing food crisis in the news. (If not go to google news and search food crisis) It can all be a little overwhelming and hard to understand. Many are talking about it being the “Perfect Storm“, a mix of soaring oil prices and bad crop years. Eat. Drink. Better. is starting a series on Understanding the Global Food Crisis. So if you think you’ve got it bad buying a gallon of milk, find out why the rest of the world is rising up in protest and teetering on violence.

Democracy Now recently had a good interview with Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved: the Hidden Battle for the World Food System, about the current crisis. He says it is more than just a convergence of unlikely events. It is a result of the food system that causes 1 billion people to be obese while 800 million people are starving (thus the title of his book). Patel worked at the WTO and World Bank and really seems to know his stuff.

3 comments on “Global Food Crisis

  1. I don’t want to come off as a anti-globalization, the sky is falling, chicken little sort of person, however:

    We (N.Am & Europe) changed our food supply from one of local farmers growing food for a local market into a highly subsidized world wide agri-business.

    While both the local farmer and the agri-business CEO both grow food to “earn a buck”, the local farmer is much closer to the end user – the consumer.

    Local farmers grew a variety of foods, raised livestock, rotated crops, used “normal” seeds and at one time fertilized the crops with the leavings of the livestock.

    The agri-business farm relies on subsidies, artificially driving the price of their crops lower that what it would take a “developing” farmer to grow them, focuses on a small number of crops, uses genetically modified seeds, and fertilizes with chemicals and questionable fertilizer slurries.

    Which of these approaches is based in common sense?

    The very expensive organic, free range foodstuffs of today were simply called FOOD by our grandparents.


  2. hey dr,

    you raise a lot of good issues and questions that i hope we can really chew on. the hard part it seems about these issues is that they are so interconnected and huge that sometimes feels overwhelming and difficult to grasp.

    you used the word “globalization”, which is a word that gets used a lot and understood very little. i think food issues illuminates globalization in a way a pair of jeans doesn’t.

    i’m really looking forward to you being a conversation partner around here. if you don’t mind, could you tell us a little about yourself?


  3. Hi Lucas,

    I will definitely be throwing my two cents in. Food is fast becoming a true philosophical concern in the world today.

    Who am I?

    You know, the older (38) I get, it becomes more difficult it becomes to answer that question with a sound bite. Here goes…

    I am 38 yr old, married, personal trainer / body transformation guru to the rich & vain in Toronto, Canada.

    I am also a semi-sarcastic (see the above paragraph – guru? – somebody has a bit of an ego problem) semi-hopeful, semi spiritual, lover of knowledge.

    I loved your new post.

    Up here in Toronto, America is usually looked at with disdain. Big bully, myopic, only interested in herself, etc…

    Keep in mind, that’s only Toronto. The rest of Canada hasn’t swallowed the socialist kool-aid. And the rest of Canada pretty much hates Toronto.

    I love when Americans stand up for themselves and refute the image that the media/UN try to create about America.

    America may not be perfect, but if it’s so bad, how come people from all around the world want to live there?

    OK, enough ranting (I am tired & I have to get up @ 5 a.m. to train a client)

    Looking forward to your next post


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