Everyone has to eat. This book takes a long hard look at how our food production system evolved into the current supermarket structure, where our foodEveryone has to eat. This book takes a long hard look at how our food production system evolved into the current supermarket structure, where our food comes from, who produces it, and how it is processed before we see it.
More disturbing aspects of the book discussed the effects of pesticides on farm workers, various sorts of difficulties that independent family farmers face, the decreasing diversity of our crops, and the incredible amount of waste that goes on in our country. It was especially frightening to read about the negative effects of government restrictions designed to keep food products sanitary. For example, rules demand that cows, pigs, and chickens be taken to a USDA factory slaughter house to be killed. This seems like it would keep things within sanitary standards, but in reality it results in much dirtier meat. It also prevents farmers from killing their own animals humanely at their farms.
Another relevant issue this book raised was the global market. The US government provides subsidies to farmers. This sounds like a good idea, but in reality, the subsidies go mostly to huge agribusiness corporations who don't need the money. This means that US produce, meat, and milk sell for very low prices. American companies end up overproducing food, which then means we dump it on other countries at an extremely cheap price. This, in turn, affects the market value of those products in those countries, and prevents farmers in those countries from earning a living. So the farmers stay poor, and need more handouts from the US. There may be other perspectives for US farm subsidies, but the book presented this one very convincingly.
Ok, I also liked the title.
This book answers all sorts of questions about our food supply, such as: Why do we pasteurize milk? What are the risks and benefits of genetically modified plants? Why would you want to eat local and seasonal food? Why aren't there more community gardens? Which plants are illegal, and why? What are the restrictions on small farms' food production, and how did they come about?
You might expect a manifesto for vegetarianism, but the author does talk about eating meat quite a bit. He also candidly discusses being an HIV positive queer man who lives on a commune farm. If that will distract you from what he has to say, then you probably shouldn't read this book. Some of the suggested "recipes" were a little too much for me, and I didn't agree with everything, but I still got a lot of benefit from the book....more
This is not an easy read on several levels. First, it is written in a very dry, confusing style. Second, it will make you so angry that you have to puThis is not an easy read on several levels. First, it is written in a very dry, confusing style. Second, it will make you so angry that you have to put it down. It is amazing and frightening to learn how much power the President has to control multiple facets of life. You will be shocked to learn all the details. ...more
Favorite cookbook EVER. It's all that the title promises: quick, easy, cheap, and tasty. Not gourmet, but that's what blogs are for. It also gives smalFavorite cookbook EVER. It's all that the title promises: quick, easy, cheap, and tasty. Not gourmet, but that's what blogs are for. It also gives small amounts-- one or two servings-- so you don't end up with 6 servings of leftovers. ...more
The concept of the book is that we have TOO MUCH technology in our lives, and that we are unnecessarily complicating things and taking time away fromThe concept of the book is that we have TOO MUCH technology in our lives, and that we are unnecessarily complicating things and taking time away from what really matters. To quote my former boss, "Having a car is like a chain around your neck." The maintenance, parking, insurance, and time spent driving could actually make your life more difficult. Eric Brende and his wife Mary left Boston to spend 18 months with Amish farmers.
I don't think I would ever repeat their experiment. However, this book really influenced my thinking and made me look for balance between this extreme anti-technology and my current computer loving self.