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Retro: Postcards From The Global Food System
Alex Steffen, 28 Aug 05

Food impacts us all, in ways direct and indirect, but puzzling out those impacts is not a simple job. That's what makes Zaid's series, Postcards From The Global Food System (parts two and three), one of the best things we've done on the subject: Zaid admits he doesn't exactly know how best to understand the global food system, and engages in an act of public self-education.

I’ve been struggling, as part of my work over the last year, to figure out exactly how and why the global food system is unsustainable and to get my head around the logic of the system. This is easier said than done. Two of my colleagues at the Sustainable Food Lab, Hal Hamilton and Don Seville, have articulated the dilemma as follows:

“Nobody intends for their decisions to result in a system that is unsustainable overall. Decisions are made by individuals trying to do the best job possible within their context. Some must please a boss or increase shareholder value. Cost cutting is frequently necessary in order to compete successfully. All of these decisions are usually rational within the context of the decision-maker, but the net result of all these decisions includes problems ranging from soil erosion to low quality nutrition.”

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