The End of Food by Paul RobertsThe End of Food by Paul Roberts

The End of Food

byPaul Roberts

Paperback | April 30, 2009

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Paul Roberts, the best-selling author of The End of Oil, turns his attention to the modern food economy and finds that the system entrusted to meet our most basic need is failing.

In this carefully researched, vivid narrative, Roberts lays out the stark economic realities behind modern food and shows how our system of making, marketing, and moving what we eat is growing less and less compatible with the billions of consumers that system was built to serve.

At the heart of The End of Food is a grim paradox: the rise of large-scale food production, though it generates more food more cheaply than at any time in history, has reached a point of dangerously diminishing returns. Our high-volume factory systems are creating new risks for food-borne illness, from E. coli to avian flu. Our high-yield crops and livestock generate grain, vegetables, and meat of declining nutritional quality. While nearly one billion people worldwide are overweight or obese, the same number of people-one in every seven of us-can't get enough to eat. In some of the hardest-hit regions, such as sub-Saharan Africa, the lack of a single nutrient, vitamin A, has left more than five million children permanently blind.

Meanwhile, the shift to heavily mechanized, chemically intensive farming has so compromised soil and water that it's unclear how long such output can be maintained. And just as we've begun to understand the limits of our abundance, the burgeoning economies of Asia, with their rising middle classes, are adopting Western-style, meat-heavy diets, putting new demands on global food supplies.

Comprehensive in scope and full of fresh insights, The End of Food presents a lucid, stark vision of the future. It is a call for us to make crucial decisions to help us survive the demise of food production as we know it.

Paul Roberts is the author of The End of Oil, which was a finalist for the New York Public Library's Helen Bernstein Book Award in 2005. He has written about resource economics and politics for numerous publications, including the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, Harper's Magazine, and Rolling Stone, and lectures frequently on business and environmental issues.
Paul Roberts is the author of The End of Oil, a finalist for the New York Public Library's Helen Bernstein Book Award in 2005. He has written about resource economics and politics for numerous publications, including the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and Rolling Stone, and lectures frequently on business and environmental iss...
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Title:The End of FoodFormat:PaperbackDimensions:432 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 1.03 inPublished:April 30, 2009Publisher:Houghton Mifflin HarcourtLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0547085974

ISBN - 13:9780547085975

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Soylent green anyone? Even if his timeline is off,there's no arguing that the current system is not sustainable. He gives you lots to think about, even if he's a bit of a doomsayer like the author of The Long Emergency (he wrote his own oil book called, you guessed it, The End of Oil).
Date published: 2013-05-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very eye opening! I picked this up out of curiosity and was completely dumbfounded at the information it contains. The book itself is politically neutral from what I could see, which I appreciate. Although the author is American so no Canadian facts were given but the facts are enough to my attention. I had no idea that the developing world was being held back and in some cases, devastated so severely due to the USA and Europe's hunger for profit at any cost. The Western supermarket (now prevalent globally) today is a testament to the power and efficiency of capitalism and technology. The amazing variety of food available year round where it cannot be grown locally thanks to agribusiness, bio-engineering, and globalization is cheap and that is exactly the problem. Food is so cheap today because of externalities, an economics term referring to the costs not factored into the retail price. At an individual health level the externalities of food are obesity and cancer. At a social level the costs are pollution, soil erosion and desertification, inequality, spiraling unsustainable population growth, and so on. Externalities may be hidden long-term abstract costs, but someone has to pay them sooner or later. If you are uneducated on this subject, like I was/am and still learning more, and you consider yourself someone who cares about the fate of people in poorer countries, read this book. If nothing else maybe it will inspire you to make better choices and be more aware about what big food business is, literally, feeding us.
Date published: 2011-12-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from The End of Food "The End of Food" by Paul Roberts is an informative book about the global food market. Paul Roberts definitely did his work when it came to researching this book. Evidence of the research is found in the large "Notes" section in the back of the book. This book made me think about where exactly the food on my table comes from and if it really is as safe to eat as I think it is. Fear and a bit of anxiety over the safety of my food is a side effect from reading this book. The book does contain a number of what if scenarios that can be alarming, but it is also full of real life events that I vaguely remember happening and it was interesting to read about them in the context of the global food market. Robert Paul’s main theme of the book is to point out that the economic realities of the food system in the world today are not compatible with the growing number of people and the growing number of demands put on that market. As the world grows, especially as a larger percentage of China’s people become wealthier, the demand for meat will outgrow the supply and thus the world supply of grain will also be strained (more meat needed, therefore more grain needed to raise the animals). Some chapters were riveting for me to read, especially the ones with a science theme, but some chapters dragged on, especially the ones about the politics of food. I guess if you are into both science and politics you would love this book, but if you are like me and one tends to catch your interest more than the other you will probably enjoy the book, but not love it
Date published: 2008-09-03

Table of Contents

Contents Prologue ix

I 1 Starving for Progress 3 2 It’s So Easy Now 29 3 Buy One, Get One Free 57 4 Tipping The Scales 82

II 5 Eating For Strength 113 6 The End Of Hunger 144 7 We Are What We Eat 175 8 In The Long Run 205

III 9 Magic Pills 239 10 Food Fight 269

Epilogue: Nouvelle Cuisine 298 Acknowledgments 323 Notes 324 Bibliography 363 Index 366

Editorial Reviews

An indispensable book. . .the best analysis of the global food economy you are likely to find.-Michael PollanEveryone's got to eat, and this spellbinding book makes it clear why that may be a problem.-Bill McKibben