3-Minute Interview: Raj Patel

The author of “Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle of the World Food System,” will speak Wednesday at the Commonwealth Club.

What inspired “Stuffed and Starved”? I wanted people to … get incensed about the fact that the forces that impoverish farmers are the same forces feeding us such bad food, especially in America. Life expectancy is shortening because of the diets we’re being fed here.

What has changed in the political and food landscape since the book came out? I finished the book in 2006, when the food crisis was just beginning to blossom. Since then, it’s really hit with a vengeance. In 2006, there were 845 million people going hungry — now I would be surprised if it was less than a billion.

What’s at the root of the current food crisis? While prices of goods have doubled, salaries haven’t. You’d think the winners would be farmers, but the majority of farmers have their backs up against the wall. In Europe, even in South Africa, there are investigations into price gouging in supermarkets.

We have more than 6 billion people living on Earth. Do we have enough food to go around? We do. The problem is distribution. The reason people go hungry isn’t because of a shortage, but because they’re poor. In San Francisco, there are people hungry and homeless standing outside Safeway — doubling the number of Safeways isn’t going to solve the problem.

bwinegarner@sfexaminer.com

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