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Book Review (Manifestos On The Future Of Food & Seed)

For my 40th birthday some close friends of mine gave me a gift certificate to an online book store, we should all have such good friends. I have been interested in reading literature by Vandana Shiva for some time so I took the opportunity to purchase “Manifestos On The Future Of Food & Seed” by South End Press ( Vandana Shiva is not the only contributor. Individuals such as the American author and activist Michael Pollan and the founder of the Slow Food Movement Carlo Petrini are featured as well.

I would recommend this book for a number of reasons. To begin with if you are not familiar with Vandana Shiva you should be, she is brilliant, in fact that may be an understatement. She has a bachelors degree in physics, she pursued an M.A. in the philosophy of science and has her Ph.D. in philosophy.

Another reason I would recommend this manifesto is because in America we vote with our dollars. Most people have no idea what they are voting for when they walk into a supermarket. In fact it would be safe to say that the majority of consumers may even be under the impression that they are making a healthy purchase, one that supports the environment, farmers and their own health when in all reality it happens to be the exact opposite. Most of us live very busy lives and we have to pick and choose our battles. Global corporations work hard to deceive us as do lawmakers in Washington and other parts of the world. This book enlightens us and sets the record straight.

I realize this may seem a little overwhelming, especially if you are hearing this for the first time. I also realize that a lot you may not even care for politics but this is the bottom line heirloom produce is political in its very nature. Choosing to save seed, grow organic and support local economies is political. Making healthy choices that will affect your family and the environment is political in essence. Simply put eating is political.

Regardless of your personal politics I think we can all agree that things have gotten a little out of control. Corporate profits are more important than the earth, our health, our income and our dignity as a global community. As I mentioned before we have to choose our battles wisely. It would seem this would be a subject worth knowing about. It is something we do every day, eat. We feed our families on a daily basis, when we gather to celebrate; we feed ourselves if nothing else. Eating is not simply consuming, it is a sacred process when closely examined. We should be educated on Orwellian laws such as the U.S. “farm bill”. We should be aware that one company, Monsanto, “owns” nine tenths of the worlds seed stock and are responsible for genetically modified seed, GMO’s. We should be aware of where our fruits, vegetables and meats come from and the conditions of the livestock and those working to put food on our table have to endure.

It is much easier to simply ignore the issue and continue supporting the same companies that are poisoning the soil, our precious water and our bodies. The same companies that are closing down thousands of family farms a year and are promoting a sort of global slave labor. There is certainly convenience in mass produced food but in truth it is not sustainable. It has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that safe, clean food produces better yields, is healthier for us and the environment and most importantly is sustainable.

In its most basic form this book is an inspiration to grow your own food.

Do yourself a favor and look into “Manifestos On The Future Of Food & Seed” by South End Press.

For more on Vandana Shiva go to

Tobias Whitaker blogs for Mother Earth News and Grit Magazine. Click on the Mother Earth News logo at the bottom of the page for all of his post. You can also find him on Facebook at Seed To Harvest: Bossy Hen Homestead which is a central location for his homesteading blogs and his homeschooling blog, A Mile In Her Shoes: Tales Of A Stay-At Home Dad found here


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