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The End of Food by Paul Roberts
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The End of Food (2008)

by Paul Roberts

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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
A look at the future of food in this society and what will happen under staying with the status quo. No real answers- since the population problem was not discussed.
  camplakejewel | Sep 21, 2017 |
As you'll see from my recent reading lists, I've been reading several books on food and sustainability. By the time I got around to [b:The End of Food|1746833|The End of Food|Paul Roberts|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1187690908s/1746833.jpg|1744531], much of the information in it seemed very familiar, given that I've also spent some of my reading time during each of the past several years on the subject. In fact, I more or less skimmed the book, since it needed to go back to the library. But I would recommend it to someone who is just getting started on this subject. Perhaps you saw the documentaries Food, Inc. and King Corn and would like to know more context and history. This would be a good reference.

Roberts has done a lot of research and puts it together clearly. Although he doesn't make much effort to be entertaining, his work is quite readable. Beginning with our ancestor Australopithecus, not even a hunter-gatherer but simply a gatherer (and scavenger of carcasses left by larger hunting animals), Roberts traces the history of how humans have fed themselves up to the present. I learned that for hundreds of years in Europe, the daily condition of the vast majority of people was hunger, and famines were not unusual. This only really ended with the widespread importation of food from North America, South America, and Australia. Most of the food-growing and stockraising practices we are beginning to question were not thought up by Satanic profiteers, but arose from the laudable effort to feed more of the world's people. This doesn't mean that change is not necessary, and Roberts explains why.

If you want to read one book which will give you the information to think intelligently on the subject of food production and distribution and its effect on the world today, and then make up your own mind about how you want to change your own habits, I would recommend this book. If you'd like a little more guidance and philosophy, I'd recommend [b:The Way We Eat|29377|The Way We Eat Why Our Food Choices Matter|Peter Singer|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1316130253s/29377.jpg|213660], which I'll also review here. ( )
  auntieknickers | Apr 3, 2013 |
I really hated this book from the very first, when the author goes back to the amazing Paleolithic era when people ate so much meat and never died of diseases of "affluence" (except they did die of childbirth, routine infections, getting eaten by bears, starvation, and other really enjoyable things) and thus meat eating is what makes us human. Also, this guy is really into eating meat. And makes a lot of reductionist arguments. I just have a hard time taking anybody who seems to care about preventing the spread of preventable diseases (what? you mean taking away CAFOs and feedlots would help? but then there would be no more cheap bacon!!) who also thinks that people have no other protein source than dead cows, dead chickens, dead pigs, and other dead animals. Global warming, starvation, and pollution aren't going to end if everybody goes vegan. Not everybody will go vegan, or even vegetarian, and that's OK. But questioning if really cheap hamburgers and bacon is contributing to the problems is probably a first step in remedying the problems. But I think the author just has too much faith in the "free market" and capitalism and the mythical invisible hand to fix it first. ( )
  lemontwist | Apr 27, 2012 |
Do you currently, or have you ever eaten food? If your answer is yes, then this book is for you!

Paul Roberts takes the reader on a data-rich journey towards understanding the food that sits in front of them. If you've never taken the opportunity to think about the origin of your food, the journey in The End of Food will be enlightening and apocryphal at the same time. From the origin of seeds to the politics of import/export, the complexity of the food system is bluntly detailed in this book.

It is more common than not in this date and age (especially in America) to look for the "right" quick fix. Roberts doesn't offer a single, correct solution for problems evident within in the food system. Instead, the wisdom put forth is that sustainability must be achieved in order to gain the time to address the complex problems with complex solutions.

This book is the perfect reference tool to help the eater make more well-informed, sustainable, and healthy (for person and environment) decisions. ( )
  Sovranty | Dec 29, 2011 |
This book covers a whole spectrum of topics from pathogens to transgenic technology (all food is genetically modified). Makes a compelling argument for vegetarianism or at least reducing our 200 pound per person per year consumption of meat. India averages around 12 pounds. How many of us are aware that it takes about twenty pounds of grain to produce a single pound of beef? Or that livestock is responsible for one-fifth of all greenhouse gases? Or the thousand or so gallons of water it takes to raise this pound of beef?

We have become so far removed from the source of food that we take it for granted. That our food supply is no more secure than it ever was. Climate change (disruption by human activity), overpopulation and environmental destruction are all adding to our food insecurity.

The End of Food is a book that has changed the way I think about food. One of the best books on a topic that is vital to all of us. Highly recommended. ( )
  RChurch | May 30, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Paul Robertsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Mann, DavidCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In late October of 2006, seven weeks after the first reports that E. coli O157:H7 had been found in bags of fresh spinach, investigators working the farms in California's Salinas Valley got a break. - Prologue
In the late 1940s, anglers who fished the waters of the Hudson River near Orangetown, New York, noticed something odd about the trout they were reeling in: every year, the fish were getting larger. - Chapter 1
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0618606238, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:46 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

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. 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 thefuture. It is a call for us to make crucial decisions to help us survive the demise of food production as we know it.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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