America S Food

Author: Harvey Blatt
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 026226045X
Size: 63.61 MB
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We don't think much about how food gets to our tables, or what had to happen to fill our supermarket's produce section with perfectly round red tomatoes and its meat counter with slabs of beautifully marbled steak. We don't realize that the meat in one fast-food hamburger may come from a thousand different cattle raised in five different countries. In fact, most of us have a fairly abstract understanding of what happens on a farm. In America's Food, Harvey Blatt gives us the specifics. He tells us, for example, that a third of the fruits and vegetables grown are discarded for purely aesthetic reasons; that the artificial fertilizers used to enrich our depleted soil contain poisonous heavy metals; that chickens who stand all day on wire in cages choose feed with pain-killing drugs over feed without them; and that the average American eats his or her body weight in food additives each year. Blatt also asks us to think about the consequences of eating food so far removed from agriculture; why unhealthy food is cheap; why there is an International Federation of Competitive Eating; what we don't want to know about how animals raised for meat live, die, and are butchered; whether people are even designed to be carnivorous; and why there is hunger when food production has increased so dramatically. America's Food describes the production of all types of food in the United States and the environmental and health problems associated with each. After taking us on a tour of the American food system -- not only the basic food groups but soil, grain farming, organic food, genetically modified food, food processing, and diet -- Blatt reminds us that we aren't powerless. Once we know the facts about food in America, we can change things by the choices we make as consumers, as voters, and as ethical human beings

America S Environmental Report Card

Author: Harvey Blatt
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262515911
Size: 29.90 MB
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A timely analysis of the state of America's environmental health addresses some of our most pressing environmental concerns, including air and water pollution, energy consumption, global warming, the ozone layer, climate change, and species depletion, and outlines workable and reasonable solutions that can map a course to a sustainable future.

Made In The Usa

Author: Vaclav Smil
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262019388
Size: 74.42 MB
Format: PDF
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An argument that America's economy needs a strong and innovative manufacturing sector and the jobs it creates.

Why America Is Not A New Rome

Author: Vaclav Smil
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 026228829X
Size: 39.19 MB
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America's post--Cold War strategic dominance and its pre-recession affluence inspired pundits to make celebratory comparisons to ancient Rome at its most powerful. Now, with America no longer perceived as invulnerable, engaged in protracted fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, and suffering the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, comparisons are to the bloated, decadent, ineffectual later Empire. In Why America Is Not a New Rome, Vaclav Smil looks at these comparisons in detail, going deeper than the facile analogy-making of talk shows and glossy magazine articles. He finds profound differences.Smil, a scientist and a lifelong student of Roman history, focuses on several fundamental concerns: the very meaning of empire; the actual extent and nature of Roman and American power; the role of knowledge and innovation; and demographic and economic basics--population dynamics, illness, death, wealth, and misery. America is not a latter-day Rome, Smil finds, and we need to understand this in order to look ahead without the burden of counterproductive analogies. Superficial similarities do not imply long-term political, demographic, or economic outcomes identical to Rome's.

Big Hunger

Author: Andrew Fisher
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262339528
Size: 63.19 MB
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Food banks and food pantries have proliferated in response to an economic emergency. The loss of manufacturing jobs combined with the recession of the early 1980s and Reagan administration cutbacks in federal programs led to an explosion in the growth of food charity. This was meant to be a stopgap measure, but the jobs never came back, and the "emergency food system" became an industry. In Big Hunger, Andrew Fisher takes a critical look at the business of hunger and offers a new vision for the anti-hunger movement. From one perspective, anti-hunger leaders have been extraordinarily effective. Food charity is embedded in American civil society, and federal food programs have remained intact while other anti-poverty programs have been eliminated or slashed. But anti-hunger advocates are missing an essential element of the problem: economic inequality driven by low wages. Reliant on corporate donations of food and money, anti-hunger organizations have failed to hold business accountable for offshoring jobs, cutting benefits, exploiting workers and rural communities, and resisting wage increases. They have become part of a "hunger industrial complex" that seems as self-perpetuating as the more famous military-industrial complex. Fisher lays out a vision that encompasses a broader definition of hunger characterized by a focus on public health, economic justice, and economic democracy. He points to the work of numerous grassroots organizations that are leading the way in these fields as models for the rest of the anti-hunger sector. It is only through approaches like these that we can hope to end hunger, not just manage it.

Food Justice

Author: Robert Gottlieb
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262288648
Size: 15.21 MB
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In today's food system, farm workers face difficult and hazardous conditions, low-income neighborhoods lack supermarkets but abound in fast-food restaurants and liquor stores, food products emphasize convenience rather than wholesomeness, and the international reach of American fast-food franchises has been a major contributor to an epidemic of "globesity." To combat these inequities and excesses, a movement for food justice has emerged in recent years seeking to transform the food system from seed to table. In Food Justice, Robert Gottlieb and Anupama Joshi tell the story of this emerging movement. A food justice framework ensures that the benefits and risks of how food is grown and processed, transported, distributed, and consumed are shared equitably. Gottlieb and Joshi recount the history of food injustices and describe current efforts to change the system, including community gardens and farmer training in Holyoke, Massachusetts, youth empowerment through the Rethinkers in New Orleans, farm-to-school programs across the country, and the Los Angeles school system's elimination of sugary soft drinks from its cafeterias. And they tell how food activism has succeeded at the highest level: advocates waged a grassroots campaign that convinced the Obama White House to plant a vegetable garden. The first comprehensive inquiry into this emerging movement, Food Justice addresses the increasing disconnect between food and culture that has resulted from our highly industrialized food system.

Feeding The World

Author: Vaclav Smil
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262692717
Size: 47.31 MB
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This book addresses the question of how we can best feed the ten billion or so people who will likely inhabit the Earth by the middle of the twenty-first century. He asks whether human ingenuity can produce enough food to support healthy and vigorous lives for all these people without irreparably damaging the integrity of the biosphere. What makes this book different from other books on the world food situation is its consideration of the complete food cycle, from agriculture to post-harvest losses and processing to eating and discarding. Taking a scientific approach, Smil espouses neither the catastrophic view that widespread starvation is imminent nor the cornucopian view that welcomes large population increases as the source of endless human inventiveness. He shows how we can make more effective use of current resources and suggests that if we increase farming efficiency, reduce waste, and transform our diets, future needs may not be as great as we anticipate. Smil's message is that the prospects may not be as bright as we would like, but the outlook is hardly disheartening. Although inaction, late action, or misplaced emphasis may bring future troubles, we have the tools to steer a more efficient course. There are no insurmountable biophysical reasons we cannot feed humanity in the decades to come while easing the burden that modern agriculture puts on the biosphere.

Are We Rome

Author: Cullen Murphy
Publisher: HMH
ISBN: 0547527071
Size: 19.37 MB
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What went wrong in imperial Rome, and how we can avoid it: “If you want to understand where America stands in the world today, read this.” —Thomas E. Ricks The rise and fall of ancient Rome has been on American minds since the beginning of our republic. Depending on who’s doing the talking, the history of Rome serves as either a triumphal call to action—or a dire warning of imminent collapse. In this “provocative and lively” book, Cullen Murphy points out that today we focus less on the Roman Republic than on the empire that took its place, and reveals a wide array of similarities between the two societies (The New York Times). Looking at the blinkered, insular culture of our capitals; the debilitating effect of bribery in public life; the paradoxical issue of borders; and the weakening of the body politic through various forms of privatization, Murphy persuasively argues that we most resemble Rome in the burgeoning corruption of our government and in our arrogant ignorance of the world outside—two things that must be changed if we are to avoid Rome’s fate. “Are We Rome? is just about a perfect book. . . . I wish every politician would spend an evening with this book.” —James Fallows

Food Power

Author: Bryan L. McDonald
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190600691
Size: 69.77 MB
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There is a widespread assumption that the American food system after World War II was transformed-toward an increasingly industrialized production of crops, more processed foods, and diets higher in fat, sugar, and calories-as part of a unified system. In this book, Bryan McDonald brings together the history of food, agriculture, and foreign policy to explore how food was deployed in the first decades of the Cold War to promote American national security and national interests, a concept referred to as food power. In the postwar years, Americans struggled to understand how an unprecedented abundance of food could be used to best advance U.S. goals and values. Was food a weapon, a commodity to be valued and exchanged through markets, or a substance to be provided to those in need? McDonald traces different visions of food power and shows how food formed an essential part of America's postwar modernization strategy and its vision of what it meant to be a stable, secure, and technologically advanced nation. Policymakers and experts helped build a new food system based around American agricultural surpluses that stabilized prices and food availability. This system averted a global-scale food crisis for almost three decades. The end of this food system in the early 1970s ushered in a much more precarious period in global food relations. By the late twentieth century, food politics had become a battleground in which the interests of security and foreign policy experts, farmers, businesses, and politicians contended with a growing social movement whose adherents worried about the role of food in contributing to conflict and inequality. Food Power argues that the ways postwar American policymakers and experts politically linked people and places around the world through food illuminates both America's role in the world during the mid-twentieth century and sheds light on contemporary food problems.

The Vanishing Middle Class

Author: Peter Temin
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262036169
Size: 73.26 MB
Format: PDF
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Why the United States has developed an economy divided between rich and poor and how racism helped bring this about.