Saturday, April 8, 2017

Never Out of Season

How Having the Food We Want When We Want It Threatens Our Food Supply and Our Future

The bananas we eat today aren't your parents' bananas: We eat a recognizable, consistent breakfast fruit that was standardized in the 1960s from dozens into one basic banana. But because of that, the banana we love is dangerously susceptible to a pathogen that might wipe them out.

That's the story of our food today: Modern science has brought us produce in perpetual abundance-once-rare fruits are seemingly never out of season, and we breed and clone the hardiest, best-tasting varieties of the crops we rely on most. As a result, a smaller proportion of people on earth go hungry today than at any other moment in the last thousand years, and the streamlining of our food supply guarantees that the food we buy, from bananas to coffee to wheat, tastes the same every single time.

Our corporate food system has nearly perfected the process of turning sunlight, water and nutrients into food. But our crops themselves remain susceptible to the nature's fury. And nature always wins.

Authoritative, urgent, and filled with fascinating heroes and villains from around the world, Never Out of Season is the story of the crops we depend on most and the scientists racing to preserve the diversity of life, in order to save our food supply, and us.
Just finished reading this book and I official class it as An Important Read.  A real page-turner.  While not uplifting, it needs to be read by everyone. 
An Amazon reviewer says:

Saving our planet 101  ByTom on March 26, 2017

This thoroughly researched book covers a broad array of subjects under the general category of plant ecology. The author provides a marvelous education for the layman using a narrative style that will hold your interest even if you have little background in the life sciences. Dunn includes fascinating histories of the development of important agricultural products, from bananas to chocolate, corn, potatoes, rice, wheat and rubber. He relates the important contribution of numerous researchers who have helped develop plant variations and maintained seed banks, often under dire circumstances and at the risk (and sometimes loss) of their lives.

He emphasizes again and again the importance of plant diversity in fighting drought, parasites and pathogens. He stresses the importance of maintaining significant portions of our planet in its wild and natural state. You cannot read this book without becoming convinced of the importance of funding research in these fields. This book should be required reading for anyone who votes. I hope that this excellent expose’ of the problems we face in maintaining our narrow edge in agriculture will inspire more young people to become researchers in applied ecology.

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