Tinea's Reviews > Agriculture and Food in Crisis: Conflict, Resistance, and Renewal

Agriculture and Food in Crisis by Brian Tokar
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Jan 10, 2016

it was amazing
bookshelves: food-agriculture-hunger, development-humanitarian-aid, globalization-and-borders
Recommended to Tinea by: James
Read from September 09 to November 01, 2011

OK, finally, this is the book I will be pushing on my friends and passing off after inquiries into "What do you do?" or "why?" It covers an explanation the financial and food crises and a historical overview of how peasant agriculture got all tied up in the global trade and finance systems; some pointed case studies on issue like land reform and biofuels; and most importantly, a serious inquiry into social movements for food sovereignty and the science of agro-ecology as practical, effective, and accessible solutions to these problems.

Thorough but not as overloaded and overwhelming as Food Rebellions. More agriculture, agro-ecology, and respect for farmer-led movements than The New Famines. More advocacy, urgency, and caustic critique than Food Policy for Developing Countries.

An anthology filled with the important voices doing this work, including Eric Holt-Gimenez, Via Campesina's biggest stateside solidarity advocate, Miguel Altieri, the father of agro-ecological science, Philip McMichael, the ... wellok, I kind of don't care about McMichael because he doesn't really ever say new stuff, but what he does say, is funny and tight, and I'm sure a bunch of authors whose names I am hoping to come to know and will seek out based on their contribution here. Particularly, Peter Rosset, April Howard, Christina Schiavoni and Willaim Camacaro.

The case studies by the latter three authors are important narratives that need to be mainstreamed-- especially the work of Venezuela to develop an independent, food secure state. Venezuela, Cuba, and Bolivia (and maybe, hopefully, Mali and other African nations soon) are the stories we as a human species need to be hearing, engaging with, critiquing, and building off. These countries' commitments to food sovereignty and agro-ecology are experimental and mired with inequalities and scientific and social flaws, but they and the work of movements like Via Campesina, PELUM, farmer field schools, and MST detailed in Holt-Gimenez's chapter are the crucial first steps toward a just world in which every person on earth can actually eat, can grow food if they choose to and have access to land on which to do it.

It is a serious problem, an urgent present-day famine and total ecological collapse kind of problem, that these flawed frameworks for food justice are the only examples of large-scale positive change extant in the world. Can we please collectively move to engage these dynamics instead of continuing to pursue neoliberal, industrial, plantation agriculture? Please? Writing about food I can say all the most dire melodramatic shit and still be factually correct, so yeah. Let's do this stuff.
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