How can we feed 9.5 billion people by 2070? Paul Roberts explores this multi-faceted dilemma in his book The End of Food (2009).
The development of the modern, international food system, contemporary farming methods and challenges, and a heavy dose of politics are a few of the topics covered. Roberts offers a fair balance of viewpoints and presents information in a very digestible format.
Despite walking away with a better understanding of the problems, the players involved, and the steps that are being taken towards improvement, I feel that the book lacks focus and would benefit greatly from better cohesion.
The End of Food is not written to provide the solution, but rather to educate readers on the problem. Roberts achieves this goal and has therefore provided a useful book in the endless battle to improve our ailing food system.
Read this book if:
- You want good background information on the formation of our current food economy.
- You are interested in food politics (US farm subsidies, the roles/actions of mega-corporations, global considerations, etc.).
- “I think a lot of people would enjoy being farmers, but somehow, as a society we’ve decided that farming is inappropriate” (250).
- “According to surveys by Delate, organic-corn yields in Iowa are now between 90 and 92 percent of conventional yields, while soybeans are at 94 percent” (251).
- “Consumers wishing to avoid transgenic foods cannot, because the industry has successfully blocked any requirement that transgenic crops be labeled – despite surveys showing that nine out of ten consumers want such labels” (256).