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Food Politics

3.24  ·  Rating Details ·  168 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
The politics of food is changing fast. In rich countries, obesity is now a more serious problem than hunger. Consumers once satisfied with cheap and convenient food now want food that is also safe, nutritious, fresh, and grown by local farmers using fewer chemicals. Heavily subsidized and underregulated commercial farmers are facing stronger push back from environmentalist ...more
Paperback, 218 pages
Published April 7th 2010 by Oxford University Press, USA
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May 15, 2013 Joseph rated it really liked it
Shelves: food, animal-rights
Food Politics by Robert Paarlberg is exactly what the title says. I thought I knew quite a bit about my food. I am a vegetarian. I read labels. I have seen the documentaries on our food. I am smart enough to know that meat is not neatly created in styrofoam and plastic wrapped packages. I also know that the long list of chemicals on a frozen burrito wrapper are not natural food stuffs. Furthermore, I know that international trade of food is a touchy subject between countries, small family farms ...more
Alex Tongue
Aug 30, 2016 Alex Tongue rated it it was amazing
This book blew my mind.
Jan 22, 2011 Joy rated it liked it
I would give it a four for content and 2 for style. It was a very dry read though not difficult. The author is not trying to pull any heartstrings or inspire anyone to do anything. Rather he simply answers a bunch of questions about food production, consumption and politics. I would say it is worth reading if you are interested in food (including agricultural and environmental) issues, perhaps just for the reminder that things are seldom as simple as they appear and that we should be wary of ove ...more
Oct 11, 2012 Jonathan rated it did not like it
Shelves: office
This book tends to be biased towards biotechnology and agribusiness, especially in the chapters about the Green Revolution and Genetically Modified foods. The lack of footnotes or citations really impacts the credibility of the author and the broad statements being made. A conclusion at the end of the book would have helped to sum up all the disparate information scattered throughout.
Mar 20, 2017 Arwen17 rated it did not like it
This book was too pro-industry for me to trust it. Completely biased. He nitpicked certain things with activist movements and glossed over the very real problems these movements bring forward. Was this guy paid by the industry to write this book? If he wasn't so biased and pro-establishment, I would have probably liked it because he covered a wide range of topics on this subject.

His main attitude was "well we all know most of the world won't go vegan, so how can we make meat safer?" That's the s
Frank Stein
Dec 31, 2011 Frank Stein rated it really liked it
Food politics is becoming almost ubiquitous in the news these days, and, since its a subject I haven't taken much time to investigate, I figured I should read a basic primer on all the ins and outs.

This is a great one. Paarlberg covers everything from international food aid to obesity to organic farming. One thing that may surprise most people coming at this book from reading the New York Times, Paul Roberts, or Michael Pollan (in other words, Whole Foods consumers) is that Paarlbarg isn't a bi
Betsy McGee
Jul 24, 2011 Betsy McGee rated it really liked it
Shelves: food-cookbooks
Well, the title really says it all...What everyone needs to know. It's very readable, very even-handed, and a nice general overview of food politics. It's a great book to get started with if you are interested in the topic or just curious about some of the food hot topics (organics, genetically modified, food policy, etc).

Basically, read this book if:
-You've ever wondered what the big deal about organic/genetically modified food is?
-You wonder how starvation and morbid obesity can co-exist on th
Nov 02, 2014 Brandy rated it really liked it
Food Politics is an excellent introduction to the causes, possible solutions, and complications of world hunger. It would serve well as a reference for anybody regularly discussing the topic with the public.

One small nitpick detail is, the number of underweight population shouldn't be used as an indication of how much of a country is food insecure.

The book touches on such a wide range of topics I can understand why they aren't in depth, however they could have given a little more detail to some
Trey Malone
Nov 14, 2016 Trey Malone rated it really liked it
This is a decent read for anyone wanting a rough and dirty introduction to food policy issues, although I do wish that Oxford would let the authors in this series actually include citations. The area that really shines through was early in the text when he discusses food policy issues in developing countries. In fact, after reading his discussion there, I'll be reading his other book, "Starved for Science." Hopefully there he will actually be able to cite appropriately.

For a continuation of the
Oct 10, 2011 Caitlin rated it it was ok
I was really excited to read this book, and will be using info from a couple of chapters for a term paper I'm writing this semester, but I could not find myself getting interested in the topics as Paarlberg discussed them. I am definitely interested in "food politics", but his style of writing was just too straight-factual for me. The book felt like a list of facts, in sentences instead of bullets. Each chapter didn't really have a connection to the other chapters. I found myself tempted to skim ...more
Sep 20, 2011 Alice rated it liked it
Should a book ever use questions to preface a chapter?

No! What a terrible terrible tactic. Even an explicit text book (which this is not) should KNOW better.

Aside from that horrible writing strategy, the content of the book was pretty good, although I personally think it could have benefited from a more specific lens. It covered too much and without enough depth.

Could this book have been three separate books instead?
Yes. One about economics, one about politics, and one about society.
Nov 21, 2015 Brennan rated it liked it
Facts, facts, facts. That's the simplest way I can say it. And incredibly informative book from a man who has a wealth of knowledge from both inside the beltway and inside academia.

But the book can feel a bit disjointed and it's easy to get lost in some of the facts lists. Overall I'm glad I read it. Unless you're deeply interested in the wonkier aspects of Agriculture Policy, I wouldn't recommend it.
Anandh Sundar
Aug 19, 2011 Anandh Sundar rated it really liked it
In the highly emotive world of food(where everyone has a view/slant), it is refreshing to hear from a scientist who has no axe to grind viz no corporate funding at all in his full career. Written in a FAQ type format, this book really analyzes the nitty gritties of the topic. Dummies Guide 101 type.
Apr 11, 2010 treehugger rated it it was ok
I really liked the short essay-type writing - easy to grab the info you're looking for, but not so great for sitting down next to the lake and doing some pleasure reading..

I also need to look back through it - I think I disagree with a good portion of what he says about food policy, at least domestically...
Derrill Watson
Aug 20, 2013 Derrill Watson rated it it was amazing
A very clear, consistent look at a number of questions people have about our food system. The ending comes a bit abruptly - a concluding chapter would have been nice. It's at a simpler level than my textbook, Food Policy for Developing Countries, but doesn't sacrifice any of the clarity or complexity that comes from someone who has done and read the research.
Jan 13, 2013 Jessica rated it liked it
Awesome. An incredibly insightful, informative book on American food policy and the politics surrounding the industry. Have revisited it over and over again, and will probably come back to it at least 2-3 times more in the near future.
Nov 22, 2010 Govind rated it really liked it
Good overview; makes some controversial and interesting claims
Oct 12, 2010 Kiki rated it did not like it
Terrible book.
Nov 26, 2013 Katelyn rated it it was amazing
Had to read this for a class but it was really great and informative too.
May 26, 2010 Jennifer marked it as to-read
Recommended to Jennifer by: Ben L.
Shelves: food
Jan 09, 2012 Kathely rated it it was ok
I disagreed with some of this, agreed with other parts of it.
Aug 09, 2011 Kyle rated it really liked it
Dec 07, 2016 CeCe added it
I had to read this for a class in school, so I don't really feel qualified to give this a rating. Good information, but I wasn't interested in the subject.
May 27, 2012 JustineB rated it liked it
A good, albeit general introduction to the politics of food security.
Aug 02, 2010 Janice rated it it was amazing
Highly recommended. Everyone should read this.
Jemile Nesimi
Jemile Nesimi rated it it was ok
Oct 24, 2013
Gregor Erbach
Gregor Erbach rated it really liked it
Apr 16, 2012
Dani Scher
Dani Scher rated it liked it
Jul 02, 2014
Olga rated it liked it
Jul 04, 2012
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