Hungry City: How Food Shapes Our Lives
26 March 2009
*Cities cover just 2% of the world’s surface, but consume 75% of the world’s resources
*Global food production increased by 145% in the last 4 decades of the 20th century – yet an estimated 800 million people are still hungry
*In 2005 British supermarkets sent half a million tonnes of edible food to landfill – the whole food sector put together sent 17 million tonnes
*One quarter of the British population is obese – one in three meals we eat is a ready meal
The relationship between food and cities is fundamental to our every day lives. Food shapes cities, and through them, it moulds us – along with the countryside that feeds us. The gargantuan effort necessary to feed cities arguably has a greater social and physical impact on us and our planet than anything else we do. Yet few of us are conscious of the process and we rarely stop to wonder how food reaches our plates. Hungry City examines the way in which modern food production has damaged the balance of human existence, and reveals that we have yet to resolve a centuries-old dilemma – one which holds the key to a host of current problems, from obesity, the inexorable rise of the supermarkets, to the destruction of the natural world.
Carolyn Steel follows food on its journey – from the land (and sea) to market and supermarket, kitchen to table, waste-dump and back again – exploring the historical roots and the contemporary issues at each stage of food’s cycle. She shows how our lives and our environment are being manipulated but explains how we can change things for the better. Original, inspiring and written with infectious enthusiasm and belief, Hungry City illuminates an issue that is fundamental to us all.