Are GMOs really that bad? A prominent environmental journalist takes a fresh look at what they actually mean for our food system and for us.
In the past two decades, GMOs have come to dominate the American diet. Advocates hail them as the future of food, an enhanced method of crop breeding that can help feed an ever-increasing global population and adapt to a rapidly changing environment. Critics, meanwhile, call for their banishment, insisting GMOs were designed by overeager scientists and greedy corporations to bolster an industrial food system that forces us to rely on cheap, unhealthy, processed food so they can turn an easy profit. In response, health-conscious brands such as Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods have started boasting that they are “GMO-free,” and companies like Monsanto have become villains in the eyes of average consumers.
Where can we turn for the truth? Are GMOs an astounding scientific breakthrough destined to end world hunger? Or are they simply a way for giant companies to control a problematic food system?
Environmental writer McKay Jenkins traveled across the country to answer these questions and discovered that the GMO controversy is more complicated than meets the eye. He interviewed dozens of people on all sides of the debate—scientists hoping to engineer new crops that could provide nutrients to people in the developing world, Hawaiian papaya farmers who credit GMOs with saving their livelihoods, and local farmers in Maryland who are redefining what it means to be “sustainable.” The result is a comprehensive, nuanced examination of the state of our food system and a much-needed guidefor consumers to help them make more informed choices about what to eat for their next meal.
About the Author
McKay Jenkins is the author of seven books, including ContamiNation, The Last Ridge, and Bloody Falls of the Coppermine. The Cornelius Tilghman Professor of English, journalism, and environmental humanities at the University of Delaware, Jenkins lives with his wife and two children in Baltimore.
"Jenkins provides excellent context and analysis for a question we will grapple with for years to come." —Baltimore Magazine
“Impressive research into a complex situation presented in a highly readable form.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Highlighting the pros and cons of this contentious topic, Jenkins gives conscientious readers plenty to chew on.” —Publishers Weekly
“McKay Jenkins has done the impossible. He has produced a remarkably fair and balanced account of the contentious role of GMOs in the U.S. food supply, calling the shots as he sees them. Pro- and anti-GMO proponents will find plenty to argue with, but anyone wanting to understand what the fights are really about and why they matter will find this book a big help.” —Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University and author of Safe Food: The Politics of Food Safety
“With crystalline writing and deep, detailed reporting, McKay Jenkins has given the world a view of our food supply—the role of GMO science to transform all we eat and how farmers produce it, and the work of smart people harnessing old traditions to bring good local food to the table. Food Fight shows the abundance of danger and hope in the food we eat and the ways it comes to be.” —Richard Preston, author of The Hot Zone and The Wild Trees
“An insightful and unbiased deep dive into the complex issues that make up the ongoing GMO debate. Many books have been written about the rise of crop biotechnology, but Food Fight gives us a fresh look into both the risks and rewards of this dramatic reshaping of our industrial food system, and illuminates why – now more than ever – it is critical that we care.” —Carey Gillam, investigative journalist formerly of Reuters, and author of a forthcoming book on the Roundup pesticide controversy.
"McKay Jenkins digs beneath the surface of the GMO debate to uncover its root: a three-decade struggle over the future of food — and society as a whole.” —Liz Carlisle, PhD, author of Lentil Underground
“In Food Fight, McKay Jenkins exposes the connection between GMO’s and the surging use of herbicides that compromise healthy soil. The only way to heal our water world is to make dirt live. Living soil is a sponge and nature’s detox clinic for agricultural chemicals that otherwise run into rivers and create the ocean’s dead zones. After a long hard look at the alternatives, Jenkins makes the case that local food production is needed to combat our deteriorating quality of life—a must read for the conscious consumer.” —Charles Moore, author of Plastic Ocean
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