Critical Food Issues
Problems and State-of-the-Art Solutions Worldwide
by Lynn Walter and Laurel E. Phoenix, Editors
September 2009, 556pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
2 volumes, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-35444-1
$110, £85, 96€, A151
eBook Available: 978-0-313-35445-8
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

A Kenyan environmentalist … a California chef … agricultural researchers in Canada … a transnational organization of peasant farmers … French heritage apple growers. These individuals and others, in virtually every corner of the globe, are developing innovative solutions to significant threats to the world’s food security. Their stories fill this timely new resource on the serious food challenges we are facing today.

This authoritative, research-based collection examines urgent threats to future global food security and evaluates current and potential solutions.

Critical Food Issues: Problems and State-of-the-Art Solutions Worldwide examines 31 crucial areas of concern, from soil degradation, depletion of water for irrigation, and loss of biodiversity to declining rural livelihoods, hunger and obesity, unjust farm labor practices, and farm animal mistreatment.

Critical Food Issues divides its coverage into two exhaustive volumes, one on bioenvironmental topics and one with a sociocultural focus. Throughout, highly accomplished experts from a variety of academic backgrounds review the current state of research on specific problems, then identify strategies for confronting those problems that balance sustainable agrifood systems with environmental stewardship, healthy people, and equitable communities. At a time of increasing public outcries over the quality of food and the impact of agrifood production on long-term environmental and human well-being, Critical Food Issues offers an authoritative and comprehensive basis on which producers, consumers, and citizens can make more informed decisions about the future of food.

Features

  • 31 essays in two volumes—one on environmental, agricultural, and health concerns, and one on topics related to society, culture, and ethics.
  • 41 contributors from a wide range of disciplines including environmental, nutritional, soil, and agricultural sciences, medicine and dietetics, education, literature, history, philosophy, economics, sociology, anthropology, and gender studies
  • Tables presenting important statistical data concerning food growth and distribution, health concerns, and economic issues
  • A comprehensive glossary including important acronyms and abbreviations
Lynn Walter, PhD, is codirector of the Center for Food in Community and Culture, chair of Anthropology, and Rosenberg Professor of Social Change and Development at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Green Bay, WI, where she also teaches women's and gender studies. Her field work in Ecuador was in an indigenous farming community and her later research in Denmark focused on welfare and gender issues. Dr. Walter is editor of Women's Rights: A Global View, editor-in-chief of Women's Issues Worldwide, and author of Ethnicity, Economy, and the State in Ecuador. Her interest in critical food issues comes from studying peasant agriculture and gendered constructions of family in comparative perspective, from having grown up on a small Midwestern farm, and from having worked as a cook.

Laurel E. Phoenix, PhD, is associate professor of public and environmental affairs and chair of the Geography Department at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Green Bay, WI. She is also an executive committee member of the Center for Food in Community and Culture. Dr. Phoenix teaches courses on sustainable water and land resource management and planning, transitioning to sustainable communities, environment and society, environmental law, and graduate environmental science and policy courses. She is associate editor of the American Water Resource Association's Water Resources IMPACT. Her interest in critical food issues grew from decades of organic gardening as well as researching the synergies of water, air, and soil pollution.

Reviews

"In order to create a broad and authoritative reference on food today, 41 researchers from universities around the world were asked to provide their academic expertise on complex information and ideas in a manner that could be communicated across disciplinary boundaries without obscuring the underlying complexity. The disciplines represented range across the entire gamut of the sciences and humanities as contributors address the environment, agriculture and fisheries, health, society, culture, and ethics. Among their topics are soil degradation and conservation, sustainable agriculture in developing countries, the effects of agricultural practices on nutrient profiles of foods, roots and roles of alternative agrifood systems, sustainable regional food systems and healthy rural livelihoods, and animal welfare. The two volumes are paged and indexed separately."—Reference & Research Book News, November 1, 2009

"The problem-solving approach of this work gives it a unique take on a recently popular topic, and its approachable style lends itself well to undergraduate research. A good addition for undergraduate research collections."—Library Journal, January 15, 2010

"Recommended. Upper-division undergraduate through professional collections."—Choice, April 1, 2010

"Critical Food Issues is an extraordinary contribution to the emerging field of food studies. Its essays prove beyond doubt that food is a fascinating and worthwhile subject of academic inquiry and that the results of that inquiry are of overwhelming importance to individuals as well as to society. The range and breadth of topics covered in this volume make the connections between agriculture and culture, and between food production and nutrition and health, abundantly clear. Anyone interested in food will find much to learn from the essays in these volumes. I intend to assign them to every class I teach."—Marion Nestle
Paulette Goddard Professor, New York University
Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health
Author, Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health, Safe Food: Bacteria, Biotechnology, and Bioterrorism, What to Eat, and Food Politics: The Chihuahua in the Coal Mine


"Food – its production, processing, and consumption – is now being widely recognized as a critical nexus where nearly all of the social and biophysical dimensions of sustainability converge. The essays in these two volumes comprise a wonderful and remarkably comprehensive, interdisciplinary survey not only of what is problematic about the global food system but, critically, what is to be done to allow us to eat in a manner that is healthy for our own bodies, healthy for our communities, and healthy for our lands.' "—Jack Kloppenburg
Professor, Department of Community and Environmental Sociology
University of Wisconsin-Madison


"Food – its production, processing, and consumption – is now being widely recognized as a critical nexus where nearly all of the social and biophysical dimensions of sustainability converge. The essays in these two volumes comprise a wonderful and remarkably comprehensive, interdisciplinary survey not only of what is problematic about the global food system but, critically, what is to be done to allow us to eat in a manner that is healthy for our own bodies, healthy for our communities, and healthy for our lands.' "—Jack Kloppenburg
Professor, Department of Community and Environmental Sociology
University of Wisconsin-Madison


"Food – its production, processing, and consumption – is now being widely recognized as a critical nexus where nearly all of the social and biophysical dimensions of sustainability converge. The essays in these two volumes comprise a wonderful and remarkably comprehensive, interdisciplinary survey not only of what is problematic about the global food system but, critically, what is to be done to allow us to eat in a manner that is healthy for our own bodies, healthy for our communities, and healthy for our lands.' "—Jack Kloppenburg
Professor, Department of Community and Environmental Sociology
University of Wisconsin-Madison
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