Endless AppetitesHow the Commodities Casino Creates Hunger and Unrest
, Band 151 1. Aufl.
How to understand the twenty-first century food crisis Since 2007, farm-product prices have rocketed and plunged, causing hunger, malnutrition, and social and political upheaval around the world. Endless Appetites explores how "food security," the availability of food and the reasonable ability to buy it, has become one of the most challenging topics of our time. With every jump in grocery-store prices, the issue becomes more and more pressing, proven by this year's record increase in food prices, which has already topped the spike of 2008. Award-winning commodities reporter Alan Bjerga explains the food crisis and why it is happening in an accessible, articulate manner Why is this happening when more food is being grown than ever? Why are crop markets?first established in the 1800's to help stabilize agricultural commodity prices?acting like an investors' casino, with prices absorbed by rich nations taking food from the mouths of the poor? From college campuses to emergency UN meetings, "food security" is one of the hottest topics of the day, with no shortage of interest in how to stabilize food prices worldwide to close the hunger gap To understand the growing international food crisis, readers need an expert they can rely on. One of the most widely acclaimed journalists on food security, Alan Bjerga is up to the task, taking readers from the trading floor of Chicago to the highlands of East Africa to the rice paddies of Thailand on a global trek to find the causes of the food-price crisis?and the solutions.
Author’s Note viii Prologue xi CHAPTER 1: Floors, Fields, and Famines 1 CHAPTER 2: Chicago Makes a Market 13 CHAPTER 3: Elephants in the Kiddie Pool 25 CHAPTER 4: A Recipe for Famine 39 CHAPTER 5: The View from Rome 51 CHAPTER 6: Hot Air 65 CHAPTER 7: Promise 79 CHAPTER 8: The Price of a Cup of Coffee 97 CHAPTER 9: A Better Banana 113 CHAPTER 10: Thai Quality 131 CHAPTER 11: Steps Up 147 CHAPTER 12: Harvest of Hope 159 Notes 169 Acknowledgments 189 About the Author 191 Index 193
"“Endless Appetites is ideal for someone interested economics and global markets, packed as it is with numbers. But the information in this book is important for anyone who is concerned about the future of our food supply—which should probably be all of us.” — Serious Eats! "Worth checking out … Based on the author's personal visits to farmers around the world, Bjerga explains how the crisis happened (short answer: greed), it’s tragic effects, and what now has to be done to reverse them." — The Atlantic "Some of Bjerga’s best writing is about the inner workings of the Chicago Board of Trade and other markets, and when he brings American agricultural history into the story of what other countries have not had and do not have to encourage stable agricultural development. … Bjerga’s skill is in the way he forces the reader to make connections between aspects of agriculture that do not normally appear together. And the book is chock full of unusual observations." — AgWeek “My Thanksgiving holiday book discovery will become Christmas season reading. ... Lest you think this is just another rant at financial and trading institutions, be aware that Bjerga is a veteran commodities writer and Washington correspondent." — Lee Egerstrom in Hindsight: The Minnesota 2020 Blog
Alan Bjerga has covered food and agricultural issues for more than a decade for Knight-Ridder Newspapers and Bloomberg News. He won the Glenn Cunningham Agricultural Journalist of the Year Award from the North American Agricultural Journalists in 2005. In 2009, he was recognized for covering U.S. food aid and famine in Ethiopia by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, the North American Agricultural Journalists, the New York Press Club, and the Overseas Press Club. In 2010, Bjerga was President of the National Press Club and the North American Agricultural Journalists.
The international food crisis—particularly the availability and affordability of food products—has become one of the most pressing challenges of our time, and is being talked about everywhere from college campuses to emergency UN meetings. While American farms are more prosperous today than ever before, the same cannot be said for those in other parts of the world. Since 2007, farm-product prices have risen at ridiculous rates, leading to increasing hunger, malnutrition, and social and political upheaval around the world.??Endless Appetites: How the Commodities Casino Creates Hunger and Unrest explores how crop markets—first established in the 1800s to help stabilize agricultural commodity prices—are increasingly acting like an investors' casino, with prices absorbed by rich nations taking food from the mouths of poor ones. Drawing on his experiences visiting farms and talking with farmers around the world—in Ethiopia, Kenya, Thailand, and Nicaragua—as well as in the United States, acclaimed journalist Alan Bjerga examines the growing international food crisis firsthand. Raised on a farm in the Midwest during the last food crisis, Bjerga has the personal and professional experience to understand the plight of individual families and make the kind of intelligent, insightful suggestions for change that only an expert can. As grocery store prices continue to rise, it is clear that something has to be done to stabilize food prices and close the hunger gap, not just at home, but around the world. Increases in food prices in 2011 set new records, and things are only going to get worse unless we act now. Endless Appetites takes the reader inside the commodities system at the center of the heartbreaking rise in worldwide hunger and considers how to solve the problem of food security for everyone.
Praise for Endless Appetites "For all those concerned about the issues of hunger in the world, this is essential reading." —GEORGE McGOVERN, former U.S. Senator and 2008 World Food Prize laureate "Alan Bjerga's well-written book, Endless Appetites, takes readers from distant farms to commodity markets all over the world as he examines the growing complexity of farming, food production, and distribution. This award-winning journalist skillfully weaves stories with data as he explains why food prices continue to rise and why, despite record food production, famines still occur. Although it deals with a complex problem, Endless Appetites is easy to read and easy to understand. I highly recommend this book to everyone who cares about food." —DAVID BECKMANN, President, Bread for the World and 2010 World Food Prize laureate
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