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Book Review: 'Hungry For Change' Places All Readers in the Global Food Struggle

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.
Hungry For Change
Hungry For Change

Title: Hungry For Change - Farmers, Food Justice and the Agrarian Question

Author: A. Harroon Akram-Lodhi

Pages: 200

When you grow up in a suburban world dominated by fast food, malls and highways, and your main interaction with food is as a consumer in a grocery store, it can be hard to imagine a life with food at its core; a life where we grow food or at least know people who grow food. It can be hard to relate to the food struggle or see yourself as part of it when food is just something you use like gas for a car.

Akram-Lodhi's book Hungry for Change asks the reader to place oneself into the global food struggle, no matter where they come from. He doesn't just blame western consumers as the perpetrators of crimes against the global south; in this book they are also being robbed.

Hungry for Change is a primer on the capitalist food system and it doesn't leave anyone out.

Through the stories of peasant farmers the world over, and an overweight, undernourished North American consumer – the reader comes to see how deeply entrenched the Agro-food system is, and how it serves no one but the large multinational food corporations and western governments that control this aspect of global capitalism.

Akram-Lodhi builds a strong foundation for understanding our current food crisis by including historical and current examples of the struggle for land ownership, international aid, peasant resistance, food science, the green revolution, the market and trade, global finance and politics, and much more. He also highlights how, for the most part, current government policies are just taking the world further down the road of alienation from food and the subsequent environmental and social destruction that accompany such policies.

The reading can be a touch academic at times, belying Akram-Lodhi's professorship at Trent University in Peterborough, but don't lose faith; the information contained within this book remains accessible and is important for everyone. Anyone interested in food: from farmers to consumers and academics to activists, can all benefit from all the thorough research that went into crafting this concise 170-page work.

That being said, don't get intimidated by the first few pages. If you need to, go straight to chapter one where Akram-Lodhi introduces the reader to specific characters and their connections to food, capitalism and each other.

Akram-Lodhi concludes the book on a high note, introducing readers to the on-the-ground, global work already being done to right food injustices. Hungry for Change doesn't flush out the potential solutions as much as I would have wanted, but perhaps highlighting these forms of resistance and positive action could form the basis of Akram-Lodhi's next book, which I would be sure to read as well.

A. Haroon Akram-Lodhi is speaking at a book launch event for Hungry for Change in Halifax on Wednesday, March 27, 2013 at 7pm

in the Loyola Building, Room L173, Saint Mary’s University:

5865 Gorsebrook Avenue.

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