Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Book: A Greedy Man in a Hungry World


Congratulations to Jay Rayner for writing a wise yet entertaining book about global food issues. Rayner takes the widest lens possible, looking at how rising populations (the UN predicts a rise to 9bn by 2050 and says that we will need to double food production by 2030) along with rising incomes in the emerging economies, primarily China, are overhauling the dynamics of the global food supply chain. The theme throughout the book is that our focus on local, organic, seasonal produce is a side issue, almost a non-issue in the grand scheme, and that while it may be hard to swallow, sustainable intensification may be the only way forward.

While Rayner has a clear opinion on most issues, he does well to consider the good and bad points of every argument and importantly, he comes armed with an abundance of well sourced facts. He also travels the world to report on the food production landscape from direct experience. Importantly, Rayner's conversational style of writing, which includes a fair chunk of personal, food related reminiscences, makes the book an easy swallow.

*** 1/2

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