The bestselling author of Locavore and the food columnist for CBC’s Here and Now, Sarah Elton is back with “Consumed: Sustainable Food For A Finite Planet”. The book, which launches this month, is a sobering look at the future of food.
“What happens on this planet over the next four decades has the potential to fundamentally alter life as we know it. By 2050, the world population is expected to reach 9 billion people, while climate change increasingly interferes with the way we produce our food. At the same time, few of us know where that food comes from, let alone how to grow it, and we are at the mercy of the multinationals that control the crops, with little insight into the damage their methods are inflicting on the planet.
In Consumed we meet people from all walks of life who are creating an alternative to the industrial food we have grown accustomed to piling into our shopping carts. These fascinating accounts bring us hope and belief in a future where we can ll sit at the table. With her eye on 2050, Elton lays out the decade-by-decade targets we must meet so that mid-century we can feed ourselves in a turbulent world.” – excerpt from jacket
Sarah Elton has tackled an enormously important subject with this new book, something that will affect all of us. In the introduction she takes us to Baltimore where we meet Lewis Ziska, a USDA scientist with the Agricultural Research Service’s Crop Systems and Global Change lab. Ziska is studying what effect climate change will have on the food we grow and his findings are frightening. He wants to see what plant species will thrive in the climate of the future, that, according to projections, will be 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius warmer than today’s average temperature. Guess what species are thriving in that brave new world?
Like a real life Day of the Triffids Ziska is seeing weeds grow to twice their normal size. As Elton explains, “For those of us who don’t farm, tall weeds might not sound like a big deal. But for a farmer, weeds taht would tower over even an NBA player are terrifying. Their giant stalks would likely jam machinery, shade event the tallest crops, and turn farming into an all-out war between the food plants and the weeds. Farmers use herbicides today to eliminate weeds before they grow, but research shows that as carbon dioxide levels increase, these chemicals are no longer effective. That leaves weeding by hand. “Of all the things that people do, that is the most time consuming and labourious aspect of growing food.” said Ziska.”
Sobering stuff and that’s just two pages in.
Look for it on shelves this month or pre-order it online today.