Monday, August 1, 2011

Food, Farming and Freedom reviewed by Dan Sisken in Jadaliyya

"Is there a link between the decline in the availability of hearty village bread in Lebanon and the Arab revolutions of the past several months? In Food, Farming, and Freedom: Sowing the Arab Spring, Rami Zurayk, Professor of Agronomy at the American University of Beirut, answers in the affirmative and goes on to show why. Food could be fairly described as the book version of Zurayk's essential blog "Land and People." Like the blog, the book covers a wide range of topics, from Israel-Palestine to international trade to food production, small-scale farming, and foreign aid. The blog-as-book format takes a bit of getting used to, but as long as one realizes that an exhaustive and systematic academic analysis is not the aim, one can read the book as it is intended: as a tour through many dilemmas of the contemporary Arab world as illustrated by myriad short case studies and column-length analyses. Taken together, these encapsulate a critique of the existing order based on how that order affects individual livelihoods, especially small farmers, and their immediate economic environments."

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