Bet the Farm: How Food Stopped Being Food

Bet the Farm How Food Stopped Being Food A prominent food journalist follows the trail from Big Pizza to square tomatoes to exploding food prices to Wall Street trying figure out why we can t all have healthy delicious affordable foodIn

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  • Title: Bet the Farm: How Food Stopped Being Food
  • Author: Frederick Kaufman
  • ISBN: 9780470631928
  • Page: 425
  • Format: Hardcover
  • A prominent food journalist follows the trail from Big Pizza to square tomatoes to exploding food prices to Wall Street, trying figure out why we can t all have healthy, delicious, affordable foodIn 2008, farmers grew enough to feed twice the world s population, yet people starved than ever before and most of them were farmers In Bet the Farm, food writer Kaufman setA prominent food journalist follows the trail from Big Pizza to square tomatoes to exploding food prices to Wall Street, trying figure out why we can t all have healthy, delicious, affordable foodIn 2008, farmers grew enough to feed twice the world s population, yet people starved than ever before and most of them were farmers In Bet the Farm, food writer Kaufman sets out to discover the connection between the global food system and why the food on our tables is getting less healthy and less delicious even as the the world s biggest food companies and food scientists say things are better than ever To unravel this riddle, he moves down the supply chain like a detective solving a mystery, revealing a force at work that is larger than Monsanto, McDonalds or any of the other commonly cited culprits and far shocking.Kaufman s recent cover story for Harper s, The Food Bubble, provoked controversy throughout the food world, and led to appearances on the NBC Nightly News, MSNBC, Fox Business News, Democracy Now, and Bloomberg TV, along with features on National Public Radio and the BBC World Service.Visits the front lines of the food supply system and food politics as Kaufman visits farms, food science research labs, agribusiness giants, the United Nations, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and Explains how food has been financialized and the powerful consequences of this change, including the Arab Spring, started over rising food prices farmers being put out of business food scientists rushing to make easy to transport, homogenized ingredients instead of delicious foodsExplains how the push for sustainability in food production is likely to make everything worse, rather than better and how the rise of fast food is bad for us, but catastrophic for those who will never even see a McNugget or frozen pizza

    One thought on “Bet the Farm: How Food Stopped Being Food”

    1. Many non-fiction books present complex and terrifying problems, such as the fact that in a time of record food production, over a billion people are going hungry. Most books then end with a proposed solution, or a cheery ray of hope for the future. This book does no such thing. The book outlines the sad fact that our entire system of food production has been hijacked by a complex high-finance system of commodity indexes, speculation and derivatives. The problem with such a system is that by maki [...]

    2. The author sets out to answer a simple question: In this age of excess, where we produce more than 2000 calories per person on this planet, does everyone not have access to cheap, healthy food?His answer leads down a rabbit hole that emerges to the big bad wolf of financial derivatives. Seems like nothing is too sacred to be sacrificed on the altar of profit."Food had been financialised. It had become a commodity, like gold, silver and oil. The higher the price, the better the investment. The be [...]

    3. Reading this book was like casually wading in the warm shallow waters off a nice sandy beach with lots of colorful fish and shells underfoot, then stepping off the edge of an underwater cliff into dark cold water and being totally disoriented, floundering (so to speak) and trying to understand what just happened.The first 13 chapters are somewhat superficial anecdotes about Domino's Pizza, Tyson Foods, Walmart,hunger around the world, NGO efforts to solve the hunger issue, a little on GMO issues [...]

    4. Though I felt this book was full of many good, solid facts presented in a way that I found interesting as a reader, I was disappointed in that no real solutions were offered for me to personally take. What good does it do to complain if one is not willing to make changes? The first few sections of the book seemed to be going in the right direction as the author began his exploration of what drives the cost of food, but then took a downward spiral as he began blaming it entirely on stocks and nev [...]

    5. this is a solid journalistic look into the food industry. While it may not have some of the entertainment merits other books in this genre have it is worth sticking with for the varied way he approaches central issues.

    6. I am lost at the financial part, although that is what I hoped to learn about when I picked up this book.

    7. Eye-opening, in a very disturbing way -- like Rachel Maddow's "Drift." Food translated into imaginary money . Meanwhile, even more people are starving to death.And solutions that could make things worse.Scared, disturbed and not sure how to help globally. I did join a local produce delivery service during the reading of this book, which I hope helps locally.Page 249-250:"[A]cademic ambiguities provide a particularly dissatisfying conclusion to the tale of a billion hungry people on Earth, partic [...]

    8. Kaufman digs deep for both facts and ideas. He doesn't accept the easy platitudes from either the corporate apologist or the wide-eyed activist. My favorite line comes after he interviews an academic from the University of Toronto: "But I became skeptical when she told me there were two possible futures, because I suspected there were thousands of possible futures. Two possible anythings make me uneasy." Which pretty much sums up my thoughts about either side of the great food debate. Kaufman ta [...]

    9. I actually really did like this book, and would give it 3.5 stars if that was allowed. The main reason I didn't give it a solid four was that I found it somewhat hard to follow, although I am not sure why. The author writes in an easy, journalistic style so perhaps the problem was that I read it over a month or so, with several other books interspersed, and I was generally reading it late at night. Given the subject matter, that wasn't such a good idea.This book makes an important argument again [...]

    10. In the introduction to the book, the author writes, In 2008 "farmers produced more grain than ever, enough to feed twice as many people as were on Earth. In the same year, for the first time in history, a billion pople went hungry." The book seeks to answer the question of how this paradox is possible.He takes us on a tour through the pizza industry. We see how and where tomatos are grown and processed. He goes into the the organizations set up specifically to end world hunger.Where he ends up t [...]

    11. This is a good book to start building an understanding on how the mass production of food in the US (at least) is tackled. The writer is fairly balanced, taking a middle road while providing tidbits of information. Food is business, plain and simple. However you look at it, business is business and that means earnings report and stock performance over health, maintenance and efficiency. The definition of healthy food doesn't change. It's the best food that can be consumed to provide the healthie [...]

    12. I was aware that food prices had gone up in the last five years but had chalked it up to rising fuel costs (that's probably still a factor, but not the most important one). I wasn't aware that 2008 and 2010 were actually wheat surpluses though, while the numbers of hungry rose. Kaufman started off chasing a simple question- Why can't there be healthy, delicious, and inexpensive food for all- and ends up in a rabbit hole of Big Food aggregates making things cheap while squeezing out the small guy [...]

    13. Kaufman does a fine job of making a a very foreign subject commodities, futures, hedging readable and (almost) understandable. Written like a treasure hunt he takes readers along on the path he follows from one lead to the next as he tries to understand how food became something other than what we eat. The answer is not easy to untangle and the solution will be even more difficult. Like the Great Recession and housing bubble, the financial industry has discovered a way to turn food into a a wa [...]

    14. Many consumers like myself aren't knowledgable about the mechanism behind the prices of our purchases. Kaufman does an excellent job of revealing to his readers how out food (grain in particular) ends up at the price we find it at. While he does not offer a solid answer to the issue of world hunger or the commodity indexes, the reader is left curious enough to explore further. The only flaw I found with this book is the sole focus on grain. It isn't that huge of a setback but it would have been [...]

    15. In which the author peppers descriptions of his generic interviews with historical tidbits from about grain trading and / or farming, and concludes that financial derivatives for food products have something (something bad) to do with hunger (farmer suicides, too). Because financial derivatives have to do with money, and money isn't food, and everyone needs food, but not everyone has lots of money. If you agree or disagree with his conclusion and want to know what his supporting arguments are, [...]

    16. Kaufman went around the United States and world to find out why our planet is having such a food crisis. His research brought up a lot of points to think about with the food distribution in our society. Throughout the book, he had reliable and relevant sources that he got his information from. Although he did have many reasons on why there is a food crisis, he did not give a solution for helping or ending the food crisis throughout the world. The book was understandable for readers except for fe [...]

    17. Difficult book to read but quite an eye opener. I finally understood commodities and the unrealistic effect they have on market prices. It's time for Congress to step up and place limits on the number of commodities a single institution can hold. There is enough food in the world for all people to eat. Hunger needs to end and greed must be halted in its tracks through legislation. This will only happen if people open their eyes and quit being apathetic about hunger. Throwing money at the issue t [...]

    18. After finishing the peanut butter book I read Frederick Kaufman's study of food, Bet the Farm: How Food Stopped being Food (Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, 2012). Kaufman is a food journalist and he traces how food became industry in the 20th-century. Using pizza as a starting point he traces the various food stuffs that are used in pizza and how each of these has been commodified. He argues that food has become a form of currency and how this results in more food than ever and yet more people s [...]

    19. Asserts that the problem of food production/quality/distribution is because of our economic system and the financialization and industrialization of food. Gives multiple perspectives on the issue of food.Includes discussions of various measures of food, including Stewardship Index, commodity index and derivatives.Is both anecdotal with his on-site research and theoretical. Usually it is easy to read, however there are too many digressions, anecdotes, names and not enough cohesive logical structu [...]

    20. Jump to the conclusion: "[A]s long as bread means nothing but money, there will be no solution." I wish Kaufman had not confirmed my cynical opinion that large corporations and greed are in the process of destroying our society, knowing how "doomsday prophet" I sound, but this book was eye-opening and sickening all at the same time. So much time and effort and expense went into his research! If only a true solution were possible.

    21. Journalist Kaufman goes searching ways to fix the global food crisis and how money and food became interchangeable in the markets. In the end he has come to the conclusion that after making the same mistakes since recorded history that we may never fix the issue, but we can become more efficient and green in our methods to reduce the side effects of food creation to make it more affordable for all and viable.

    22. The book grabbed me hard in the beginning with the tale of mass produced pizza but soon after became a struggle for my attention span. Full of fascinating information the book was also likely more than I bargained for. While I must say I learned a lot about our world of food markets it was much more in depth than I cared to get. Which is maybe sad as I suspect this book is something many of our politicians should read.

    23. I was disappointed in the book. The author seems to focus on the most trivial aspects of any conference (what was eaten for dinner, for example) rather then deal with more substantive issues. He also appears to have little understanding of the scientific principles involved in agronomy, which makes his analysis of world hunger somewhat limited.

    24. While he develops no solution for feeding the starving, he chronicles what contributes to our inability to feed the masses, even though food is available. He takes the reader from the farm to the processing plants and finally to the commodities markets and explain how they all contribute to rising food costs and our inability to get food to those who desperately need it.

    25. Good explanation of the economics behind what foods are cheap. I found it interesting, as the topic of commodities trading is linked to actual foods we eat: tomatoes, cheese, etc. I read most of the books for lay persons on the food industry and found this is the first to focus on the commodity trading. Very disturbing and should be curbed legislatively. It is definitely "food for thought."

    26. One of the most insightful books I have read. It teaches you a lot about banks and their workings. This is good book for you if you have find it difficult to understand the difference between going long, short, index funds and derivatives. A cautionary remark: this topic is discussed in the second part of the book.

    27. Although this wasn't a particularly engaging book, the information about what is happening to how food is raised, shipped, marketed, and sold is really important to know. I suggest everyone read this because we must be aware of the dangerous relationship between food as a commodity and starvation around the world.

    28. A grim look at the worldwide food system and world hunger. The book is written well to convey the intended message, but doesn't leave the reader with much in the way of hope that there will be improvement. Still, an interesting read for anyone interested in food, hunger, global politics and finance.

    29. Let me clarify: I liked the book, granted it was very wordy and almost over the top in places, it was the content I hated. Depressing, disturbing, and just plain nauseating. All in all, a very sad look at what has become of our food supply: Soylent Green anyone?

    30. Yedigimiz Pizza Hut'larin nasil yapildigini, felaket tellalarinin su savaslari olacak dunyada yakinda bagrismalarinin, Cargill'in neden dunyanin en buyuk ozel sirketi oldugunu merak ediyorsaniz, bu kitap size gore. Hicbir sey gorundugu gibi degil.

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