Food Politics
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Food Politics

3.18 of 5 stars 3.18  ·  rating details  ·  98 ratings  ·  21 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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37th out of 45 books — 40 voters
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Food Politics
18th out of 61 books — 40 voters

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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
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
Frank Stein
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...more
Betsy McGee
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...more
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
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.
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.
Derrill Watson
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.
Andrew Jones
Clear concise and great overview of many topics regarding the politics of food
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...
Anandh Sundar
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.
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.
Had to read this for a class but it was really great and informative too.
A good, albeit general introduction to the politics of food security.
I disagreed with some of this, agreed with other parts of it.
Good overview; makes some controversial and interesting claims
Highly recommended. Everyone should read this.
May 26, 2010 Jennifer marked it as to-read
Recommended to Jennifer by: Ben L.
Shelves: food
Terrible book.
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