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Eating Tomorrow

Agribusiness, Family Farmers, and the Battle for the Future of Food

By Timothy A. Wise (New Press, 2019)

With a foreword by Raj Patel

 

Eating Tomorrow is a wake-up call about the future of food. Wise describes how agribusiness has transformed agriculture into an extractive industry, destroying the land and farmers.”

 --Vandana Shiva, author, Who Really Feeds the World?  and Soil Not Oil

Few challenges are more daunting than feeding a global population projected to reach 9.7 billion in 2050—at a time when climate change is making it increasingly difficult to grow crops successfully. In response, corporate and philanthropic leaders have called for major investments in industrial agriculture, including genetically modified seed technologies. Reporting from Africa, Mexico, India, and the United States, Timothy A. Wise’s Eating Tomorrow discovers how in country after country agribusiness and its well-heeled philanthropic promoters have hijacked food policies to feed corporate interests.

There is no we who feed the world. The world is mainly fed by hundreds of millions of small-scale farmers who grow 70 percent of developing countries’ food." —from Eating Tomorrow

With his unique background in academic research, international development, and economic journalism, Wise takes readers far and wide in his quest to understand how governments, development agencies, and farmers themselves have responded to the challenge to help developing countries grow more of their own food by empowering their small-scale farmers.

Wise talks to victims of land-grabbing in Mozambique, Monsanto officials trying to push genetically modified corn into Mexico, and Malawian farmers trying to preserve and promote their nutritious native seeds. Wise reports on the damage done to Mexican rural communities by the North American Free Trade Agreement and exposes the hypocrisy of U.S. officials using arcane World Trade Organization rules to curtail India’s ambitious national food security plan. He reports from Iowa, where biofuels and factory farms absorb industrial agriculture’s surpluses and the rivers flow with toxic runoff.

Wise reminds readers that we already grow enough food to feed 10 billion. The true path to eating tomorrow is alongside today’s resource-starved farmers, who can and will feed the hungry – if we let them.

“Wise’s writing is riveting, melding the right mix of historical context, first-person accounts, interactions with key players, and original insight, all related in fast-moving, piquant prose. This is a concentrated dose of perceptive exposition that leaves a reader informed and energized.”

--Ricardo J. Salvador, Director and Senior Scientist, Food & Environment Program,

Union of Concerned Scientists

 

Table of Contents

Forward – Raj Patel

1. Introduction

Section 1: Into Africa: The New Colonialism

2. The Malawi Miracle and the Limits of Africa’s Green Revolution

3. The Rise and Fall of the Largest Land Grab in Africa

4. Land-poor Farmers in a Land-rich country: Zambia’s Maize Paradox

 

Section 2: The Roots of Our Problems

5. Iowa and the Cornification of the United States

6. Fueling the Food Crisis: Drunk on Corn Ethanol

7. Monsanto Invades Corn’s Garden of Eden in Mexico

 

Section 3: Trading Away the Right to Food

8. NAFTA’s Assault on Mexico’s Family Farmers

9. Trading in Hypocrisy: India vs. World Trade Organization

10. Conclusion: The Battle for the Future of Food

ENDORSEMENTS

“Following the 2008 food crisis, many policy-makers responded to feared scarcity with more chemicals, heavier machinery, longer supply chains. Wise provides a powerful counter-narrative. There is a battle for the future of food, and Eating Tomorrow shifts the frontlines.”

—Olivier De Schutter, Co-Chair, International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food), former U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food

 

“With his unique journalistic flair, Wise exposes our consuming obsession with corporate agriculture, which is now devouring the resources we all will need if we are to eat tomorrow.”

—Frances Moore Lappé, author of Diet for a Small Planet

 

“I recommend Eating Tomorrow to anyone who wants to understand how the industrial food system is destroying our health, biosphere, and food culture and how farmers can feed the world through agro-ecology.”

—Million Belay, Coordinator, African Food Sovereignty Alliance

 

"Eating Tomorrow is a tour de force on the global struggle for economic, social, and cultural rights, guided by a writer who takes us into corporate boardrooms and farmers' fields to grasp the urgency of the battle for the future of food."

—Salil Shetty, former Secretary General, Amnesty International and currently Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy.

 

"Eating Tomorrow reveals how agribusiness has hijacked development and food policies, resulting in a global food system focused on profits—not the health and wellbeing of farmers, the environment, or the people around the world most vulnerable in this time of worsening climate chaos."

—Wenonah Hauter, author of Foodopoly: The Battle Over the Future of Food and Farming and executive director of Food & Water Watch.

 

"Wise’s book rebuts many of the false and exaggerated claims made by agribusiness lobbyists, demonstrating that family farmers can offer safe, healthy, sustainably produced food if they are freed from corporations’ growing stranglehold over food production, distribution, and consumption."

—Jomo Kwame Sundaram, FAO Assistant Director General for Economic and Social Development, 2012-2016

 

“The right to food has become a rallying cry the world over, from India to Malawi, Mexico to Iowa. In Eating Tomorrow, Wise takes the reader on a global journey to understand how farmers and poor people are struggling to that right.”

—Biraj Patnaik, South Asia Director, Amnesty International, and former Principal Adviser to the Commissioners of the Supreme Court of India in the landmark right to food case

“Wise’s writing is riveting, melding the right mix of historical context, first-person accounts, interactions with key players, and original insight, all related in fast-moving, piquant prose. This is a concentrated dose of perceptive exposition that leaves a reader informed and energized.”

—Ricardo J. Salvador, Director and Senior Scientist, Food & Environment Program, Union of Concerned Scientists

 

“Eating Tomorrow is a wake-up call about the future of food. Wise describes in detail how agribusiness has transformed agriculture into an extractive industry, destroying the land and farmers.”

—Vandana Shiva, author, Who Really Feeds the World?  and Soil Not Oil

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Timothy A. Wise is Senior Researcher at the Small Planet Institute where he directs the Land and Food Rights Program. He is also a Senior Research Fellow at Tufts University’s Global Development and Environment Institute. A widely published commentator on food and agriculture, Wise offers a unique combination of economic journalism, international development, and academic research. A prestigious Fellowship from the Open Society Institute supported the research for this book. He is the co-author of Confronting Globalization: Economic Integration and Popular Resistance in Mexico (Kumarian 2003) and A Survey of Sustainable Development (Island Press 2001).

Follow Wise on Twitter @TimothyAWise 

 

living democracy, feeding hope

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