Beginning to End Hunger by M. Jahi Chappell

Beginning to End Hunger, M. Jahi Chappell, University of California Press (2018)

When a dear friend hands you a book and says, “You need to read this,” you find a quiet spot and immediately open the cover. We offer the same friendly advice, read this!

Brazil is just one country battling big food and big ag on multiple fronts. In this case, JBS, the world’s biggest meat processing company and forest fires resulting from deforestation mostly for cattle pasture are just two key issues.

The Brazilian Amazon is burning again, and as of the end of June, 9 major fires were blazing. All of the fires occurred on previously deforested land.

In the Amazon, forests are often cut during the wet season (December through April) and burned during the dry season (between May and October).

This slash-and-burn cycle approach is often favored by land grabbers, farmers, and landowners converting the land for sale and for agribusiness use, particularly cattle pasture. Pasture for cattle processed by big companies like JBS.

(Publisher’s Summary)

Beginning to End Hunger presents the story of Belo Horizonte, home to 2.5 million people and the site of one of the world’s most successful food security programs.

Since its Municipal Secretariat of Food and Nutritional Security was founded in 1993, Belo Horizonte has sharply reduced malnutrition, leading it to serve as an inspiration for Brazil’s renowned Zero Hunger programs. The secretariat’s work with local family farmers shows how food security, rural livelihoods, and healthy ecosystems can be supported together.

In this convincing case study, M. Jahi Chappell establishes the importance of holistic approaches to food security in Brazil and other countries, suggests how to design successful policies to end hunger, and lays out strategies for enacting policy change.

With these tools, we can take the next steps toward achieving similar reductions in hunger and food insecurity elsewhere in the developed and developing worlds.

M. Jahi Chappell is a political agroecologist with training in ecology and evolutionary biology, science and technology studies, and chemical engineering.

He is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR) at Coventry University, a Fellow of FoodFirst/the Institute for Food and Development Policy, and an Adjunct Faculty member of the School of the Environment at Washington State University.

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