FOOD INC BOOK
Food, Inc.: How Industrial Food Is Making Us Sicker, Fatter, and Poorer—And What You Can Do About It is a companion book to the documentary film of. “Most of you have probably heard about Food, Inc., the movie, but did you also know there's a companion book to the film? The book explores the challenges. Editorial Reviews. Review. David Denby, New Yorker “Those of us who avoid junk food, with “Most of you have probably heard about Food, Inc., the movie, but did you also know there's a companion book to the film? The book explores the.
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Poly face Farm's Joel Salatin, Food, Inc. reveals surprising and often contribute to this book, from Eric Schlosser and Michael Pollan to Mar-. Food Inc. book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Food, Inc. is guaranteed to shake up our perceptions of what we eat. Thi. Gaining infamy in , the film Food, Inc. exposed the dark secrets of the American Food Industry. Director Robert Kenner showcases first.
The companies claim to be leading a new agricultural revolution that will save the world with crops modified to survive frost, drought, pests, and plague. The greens warn that "playing God" with plant genes is dangerous. It could create new allergies, upset ecosystems, destroy biodiversity, and produce uncontrollable mutations.
Worst of all, the antibiotech forces say, a single food conglomerate could end up telling us what to eat. In Food, Inc. In this urgent dispatch, he suggests that a fertile partnership between consumers, corporations, scientists, and farmers could still allow the biotech harvest to reach its full potential in helping to overcome the problem of world hunger, providing nutritious food and keeping the environment healthy.
Excerpt Chapter One: Mendel's Little Secret One of the most cherished dreams of plant breeders has been to find a way to transform corn and other cereal grains into super-plants able to reproduce themselves The term for this type of vegetative miracle is "apomixis. Department of Agriculture Press Release, Thinking about how our food is changing at the hands of the genetic engineers leads inevitably to the image of Gregor Mendel, the Moravian monk, breeding peas in his monastery garden a century and a half ago.
Dressed always in a black robe, a pair of tweezers in one hand and a camel-hair paintbrush in the other, Mendel bent over rows of peas, cheerfully castrating the flowers by snipping off the pollen-bearing anthers and dusting on a different pollen from another row. He bred round peas with wrinkled peas, peas from yellow pods with peas from green pods, tall plants with dwarf plants, carefully separating each into breeding lines and then crossing and backcrossing them to watch how the traits appeared in future generations.
In time the jolly amateur gardener scooped his fellow nineteenth-century botanists, including Darwin, with his insights into the basic laws of heredity.
Mendel was the first to understand that characteristics such as height, color, and shape depend on the presence of determining factors they were not called genes until much later and that these factors could be either dominant or recessive.
For his work Mendel was posthumously acknowledged to be the father of modern genetics. This popular image, however, misses another, less well known Mendel who becomes important today in the era of genetic engineering. The other Mendel was not so cheerful, a solitary monk still toiling in the monastery garden, but this time struggling without success to comprehend the strange reproductive processes of a common orange-colored wildflower called hawkweed. In the hawkweed case, Mendel had accepted a challenge from a German professor of botany to crossbreed varieties of hawkweed and figure out what happened to the plant through successive generations.
When he had done this experiment with peas, the offspring had shown different characteristics, allowing him to deduce his law of random assortment of the plant factors.
The progeny of hawkweed were strangely different. They were all the same in the first generation and continued to be the same in successive generations, bewilderingly exact replicas of the mother plant. Mendel could not figure out what was happening and died, as far as is known, without making any progress in unraveling hawkweed's puzzling reproductive behavior. After his death, all his personal and scientific papers were burned, possibly by a rival monk, in a huge bonfire in the monastery courtyard where his greenhouse had once stood.
We now have an explanation for hawkweed, even though scientists still don't know how it works. Mendel had witnessed a plant that produces seeds without sex, the biological phenomenon of asexuality, known in plants as apomixis. Hawkweeds do it that way; so do dandelions. Mendel's basic laws applied to peas and most other living things, but they did not account for the odd behavior of hawkweed. The word apomixis is from the Greek apo, meaning "away from," and mixis, which means "mingling," a quaint conjunction that aptly describes the somewhat haphazard way plants have sex.
Typically, a plant releases a shower of pollen grains that are carried on the wind, or by an insect, to the female organ in the quest to fertilize the eggs. In apomictic plants the pollen is infertile, and the egg itself does all the work. The seed from this activity produces a clone, an exact copy of the mother plant. Instead of having a gene pool constantly changing through the mingling of genes during sexual reproduction, the combination of genes in apomictic plants is frozen, in theory, forever.
Asexual reproduction turns out to be the method of choice for a small but diverse group of plants and animals, from roses and orchids to freshwater flatworms. It occurs in 10 percent of the four hundred families of flowering plants but only 1 percent of the forty thousand species that make up those families. The apomicts, as they are called, include several other wildflowers besides hawkweed and dandelions but only a handful of things we eat, such as mango, blackberries, and citrus.
More than a century after Mendel's death, apomixis remains one of the most vigorously investigated botanical mysteries. Researchers in America, Australia, Europe, and Russia are racing to discover which gene, or combination of genes, governs asexual reproduction. They also want to know whether apomictic plants always produce seeds without having sex.
The apomictic dandelion once had normal sex and some primitive species behave like regular sexual plants. Why did they evolve this way? Oddly, although we now have highly sophisticated techniques for swapping genes from one species to another -- powerful laboratory tools and enzymes that snip off the precise pieces of DNA we want to splice -- we still have a lot to learn about the sex life of plants. The best guess so far is that apomixis is a suppression of normal sexual activity.
But basic questions remain unanswered about the courtship of plants -- how the plant cells send signals to each other during fertilization and whether these signals are different in asexual plants than in plants that reproduce with sex -- and what really happens during the formation of the embryo.
Such matters would be of little more than academic interest when it comes to thinking about the future of food except for one important fact. None of the world's major crops is apomictic. When a plant breeder produces a prize variety of, say, corn -- handsome, high-yielding, and resistant to pests and plagues -- and that corn plant has natural sex with its neighbor, the next generation is always slightly different, just as we are each a little different from our parents.
The plant breeder yearns for some method of retaining the most desirable combination of genes in his prize variety year after year. Apomixis could be the answer -- which is why its secrets are known as the Holy Grail of agriculture and why there is a furious international scientific race to solve the mystery.
The winner of this scientific trophy could revolutionize agriculture -- and harvest massive profits.
Food, Inc: The One Documentary to Watch to Understand the Unsettling American Food Industry
Apomixis could be of tremendous benefit to seed companies; it could also help the world's farmers, especially those in undeveloped countries. Since , when the seed companies started selling hybrid corn that lasted only one season, farmers who plant hybrids have been forced to buy new seed each year or fall behind competitors in their production of grain.
If those seeds contained the apomixis genes, a farmer would have no need to buy new seed each year because his plants would do as well in the next and successor generations. He would save seed from his harvest, as farmers once did. Apomixis could offer relief for poor farmers in Asia and Africa who cannot afford to buy seed and who still breed their own varieties. They could fix traits in a prized traditional variety.
The seed companies would also benefit. Breeding new varieties is a costly and time-consuming business that could be superseded by apomictic plants that fixed their genomes forever. There is a catch, of course. This promise comes only if apomixis is unraveled by someone willing to share the discovery. If the secret of asexual plants is patented by a corporation that insists solely on commercial gain, farmers in undeveloped countries and most seed companies would be excluded from such an exclusive agricultural club for twenty years at least, the normal life span of an international patent.
In many ways the race to unravel the mysteries of apomixis poses the central dilemma of biotech agriculture.
Until now the focus of protests and of the media has been on the taint of new genetically modified GM foods, an issue that arises in rich nations where hunger is rare and such food is a matter more of taste than of necessity. While protesters march against "Frankenfoods" and trample on field tests of GM crops, and while the media raise the alarm about toxic GM potatoes and the possible extinction of the monarch butterfly from eating GM corn pollen, both give short shrift to the larger question: how can the promise of this technology and its life-giving products reach those most in need?
The core issue is the increasing dominance of industrial capital over farming, especially in undeveloped countries. If the keys to the creation of the new miracle plants -- plants that defy pests, or grow well despite droughts or floods, or produce wonder fruits that serve as medicines as well as food -- are locked up in the safe of agribusiness, it's hard to see how poor nations will reap the benefits.
If we in the developed world can use a transgenic caffeine-loaded soybean to produce coffee in Minnesota, the coffee workers of Kenya are likely to lose their centuries-old livelihood.
If the new technology can help feed the extra three billion people expected on the planet between now and the middle of the century, public funds will have to be set aside to ensure that the technology is available in poor countries.
Scientific American: April 3, Jonathan Safran Foer: Through his account, he addresses the many costs and risks associated with eating meat in today's industrialized environment. His opinion essay for CNN summarizes the book's main points. The Atlantic: Department of Agriculture's school lunch program.
Mendel to Monsanto--The Promises and Perils of the Biotech Harvest
Nestle says, "School lunches started out as a way to dispose of surplus agricultural commodities by feeding hungry kids. It emphasizes the importance of the Child Nutrition Act, but also details other issues that must be addressed in order to achieve better nutritional standards in schools.
August 18, School Nutrition Association SNA The federal Child Nutrition Act is up for reauthorization every five years, and lawmakers work to improve child nutrition programs by assessing what works and what doesn't.
SNA is a professional organization for those who provide meals to students across the country and works to advance child nutrition programs.
Parents , students and others can find information about how to improve school lunches on its website. The website encourages users to contact their legislators and get involved in the campaign.
Fed Up With Lunch: Q, who was disheartened by what she saw kids eating at school.
Food Inc.: A Participant Guide
She is eating school lunch every day in to raise awareness about school lunch foods. What's for School Lunch? This blog features photographs of school lunches from around the world. School Lunch Politics: Princeton University Press, The American school lunchroom is the stage for one of the most popular yet flawed social welfare programs in the history of the United States.
School Lunch Politics covers this complex and fascinating part of American culture, from its origins in early twentieth-century nutrition science, through the establishment of the National School Lunch Program in , to the transformation of school meals into a poverty program during the s and s. Susan Levine investigates the politics and culture of food, specifically who decides what American children should be eating, what policies develop from those decisions and how those policies might be better implemented.
Free for All: University of California Press, How did children end up eating nachos, pizza and Tater Tots for lunch? Janet Poppendieck explores the deep politics of food provision from multiple perspectives -- history, policy, nutrition, environmental sustainability, taste and more.
Opening a window onto the culture as a whole, Poppendieck reveals the forces -- the financial troubles of schools, the commercialization of childhood, the reliance on market models -- that are determining how lunch is served. She concludes with a sweeping vision for change: World Health Organization: USA Today: Traction, Global Debate" Europeans have largely rejected genetically modified foods, citing concerns about human and environmental health, while North and South American farmers have embraced them, arguing that they decrease the use of pesticides.
This article provides an overview of global arguments for and against genetically modified foods. March 17, Reckoning With Dominance of GM Crops" This article examines recent court decisions on the increasing dominance of genetically modified crops in the United States and the lack of legislation to regulate those crops. October 8, She explains the difference between hybridization of plants, which has occurred throughout agricultural history, and genetic manipulation, which has been happening in laboratories in the last few decades, and concludes that more information, regulation and labeling are needed.
August 9, The Center for Food Safety CFS An organization that promotes organic agriculture, CFS wages campaigns against what it calls "harmful food production technologies," which include genetically engineering foods.
The website for CFS includes a non-genetically modified shopper's guide. Food Fray: Weasel New York: Amacom, Lisa H. Weasel helps readers make sense of the complex, contentious issue of genetically modified food. Positioning itself directly at the intersection of food, politics and technology, Food Fray captures the real-life experiences and wide-ranging perspectives of the scientists, farmers, policy-makers and grassroots activists on the front lines of this fierce debate, teasing out the hype from the reality and uncovering the very real pros and cons of genetically modified foods.
Uncertain Peril: Beacon Press, Claire Hope Cummings takes readers from the Fertile Crescent in Iraq to the island of Kaua'i in Hawaii; from Oaxaca, Mexico, to the Mekong Delta in Vietnam to demonstrate that whoever controls seeds, from the farm to the laboratory or patent office, controls the health of the planet.
Uncertain Peril serves as a powerful reminder that what's at stake right now is nothing less than the nature of the future. Local Harvest Visitors can enter a zip code on the website of Local Harvest to find organic food -- including food from farms, community supported agriculture CSA and co-ops -- in a specific area. The website also has an online store that helps small farms develop markets for some of their products beyond their local areas.
The Eat Well Guide This free online directory for those in search of fresh, locally grown and sustainably produced food in the United States and Canada has thousands of listings of family farms, restaurants, farmers' markets, grocery stores, community supported agriculture programs, pick-your-own orchards and more.
Users can search by location, keyword, category or product to find good food, download customized guides or plan a trip with a mapping tool. Rodale Institute A nonprofit that supports organic farming techniques, the Rodale Institute studies organic and conventional farming techniques and trains farmers all over the world.
The website's Farm Locator enables visitors to find farms in their areas. University of Missouri Extension: Cooperative Grocers' Information Network: How to Start a Food Co-op This website offers a step-by-step guide to starting a local food cooperative. Let's Move This initiative, led by Michelle Obama, aims to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity within a generation.
By collaborating with both the public and private sector, Let's Move aims to offer parents the support they need, provide healthier food in schools, help kids to be more physically active and make healthy, affordable food available in every part of the United States. USDA Food Environment Atlas This map, created by the United States Department of Agriculture, highlights specific environment factors -- such as the proximity of stores and restaurants, food prices and the availability of nutrition assistance programs -- that affect a community's access to fresh, healthy foods.
The data in this map is a step towards identifying causal relationships between environment and health policy interventions. Shape Up America! This nonprofit is committed to raising awareness of obesity as a health issue and to providing responsible information on healthy weight management. By clearly defining obesity as a major public health issue, Shape Up America!
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International The mission of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International is to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through research.
The advocacy section of the website offers information about key issues, ways to join the foundation's key campaigns and tools to help those who wish to reach out to Congress to influence change. The section on life with diabetes also offers valuable information and practical advice for diabetics of all ages. American Diabetes Association: Type 2 Diabetes in Children and Young Adults: A "New Epidemic" American Diabetes Association president and pediatric endocrinologist Francine Ratner Kaufman examines why the pediatric population is increasingly developing this disease, how to treat it and, most importantly, how to prevent this "new epidemic" from destroying future generations of Americans.
The researchers emphasize that expectations regarding what can be achieved with exercise need to be lowered, and that public health policy must shift toward encouraging people to eat less. May 8, The Washington Post: Details regarding the budget for the program, key partnerships and concrete changes to the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports are explained.
February 10, What Matters: Community Supported Agriculture and Farmers' Markets Most people are paying more attention to what they consume. In the wake of health scares from spinach, tomatoes and pet food and with concerns about the economic impact of shipping food from great distances growing, many people are looking to fill their dinner tables closer to home.
August 6, Independent Lens: King Corn Two recent college grads discover where food in the United States comes from when they plant a single acre of corn and follow it from the seed to the dinner table. With the help of government subsidies, genetically modified seeds and powerful herbicides, the country's most subsidized crop becomes the staple of its cheapest -- and most troubling -- foods. On the website for the film, lean how corn farming has changed and find alternatives to high fructose corn syrup.She concludes with a sweeping vision for change: Instead of having a gene pool constantly changing through the mingling of genes during sexual reproduction, the combination of genes in apomictic plants is frozen, in theory, forever.
She explains the difference between hybridization of plants, which has occurred throughout agricultural history, and genetic manipulation, which has been happening in laboratories in the last few decades, and concludes that more information, regulation and labeling are needed.
July 29, The website for CFS includes a non-genetically modified shopper's guide. The progeny of hawkweed were strangely different.
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