Cover art by Maria Sibylla Merian and Joseph Mulder, Moonflower (Ipomoea alba) with Passalus interruptus beetle and jewel beetle (Euchroma gigantea) and Pomelo or shaddock (Citrus maxima) with metamorphosis of moth (Urania leilus), 1719; Maria Sibylla Merian and Peter Sluyter, Duroia eriopila with zebra swallowtail (Eurytides protesilaus) and Xanthocleis psidii larva and pupa, 1719; Joris Hoefnagel and Georg Bocskay, Insects, Orange Lily, Caterpillar, Apple, and Horse Fly and Fly, Caterpillar, Pear, and Centipede, 1561-1562.
Feeding the planet means sustaining the integrity and diversity of the food web: from the soil to the oceans, from microorganisms to mammals, from plants to humans. The food system is not outside nature and the Earth. It is based on the ecological processes through which the planet creates, maintains, and renews life. The planet is living: its currency is life; its currency is food. As the ancient Indian text Taittiriya Upanishad reminds us, “Everything is food. ” Nature, contrary to what industrial agriculture tells us, is very much alive, and its diversity feeds us.
The second paradigm is embedded in agroecology and living economies and is based on the Law of Return: of giving back to society, small-scale farmers, and the Earth. It embodies the values of sharing and caring, not selfishness and greed. Today, a paradigm shift has become a global survival imperative that cannot wait any longer. Who Really Feeds the World? is a distillation of three decades of research and action, and a call for a global shift. We need a paradigm shift and a power shift. Industrial agriculture shaped by corporate greed does not, and cannot, bring us sustainability and health.
Who Really Feeds the World?: The Failures of Agribusiness and the Promise of Agroecology by Vandana Shiva