Thursday, August 14, 2008
The End of Food
Food production is rapidly emerging as a key geopolitical issue. As food prices rise along with oil futures and climate change looks set to disrupt global agriculture patterns, we can expect more of the same. Indeed, hardheaded investors -- the kind who made a killing earlier this decade snapping up oil futures -- are increasingly playing the food-as-geopolitics angle. "Big private investors are starting to make bolder and longer-term bets that the world's need for food will greatly increase -- by buying farmland, fertilizer, grain elevators and shipping equipment," The New York Times recently reported.
If food is the new oil, then we're lucky that the ace geopolitical reporter Paul Roberts has turned his attention to the dinner table. His 2004 book The End of Oil crystallized the perils surrounding humanity's reliance on fossil energy.
Now he's attempted a similar feat with our globe-spanning industrial food system. His new book The End of Food is the kind of work you wish policy makers and presidential candidates were grappling with, but you're pretty sure they're not. It also deserves to be read by food-justice activists, locavores, and other critics of industrial food.