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ESF Professor Co-authors Book on Food, Sustainability

New textbook addresses challenges for sustainability, health, governance

David A. Sonnenfeld, a professor of environmental studies at ESF, is co-author with Peter Oosterveer of Wageningen University of a new textbook,Food, Globalization and Sustainability, published this month by Earthscan/ Routledge.

The book explores the contributions of the environmental social sciences in addressing challenges of food governance, environmental impact of food production and trade, animal welfare, food safety, and more. Detailed case studies are included on fair trade, local food, and fish. Special attention is given to the respective roles of agricultural producers, food retailers and consumers.

In describing the book, the publisher states: "Food is increasingly traded internationally, thereby transforming the organization of food production and consumption globally. Distance between food producers and consumers is increasing and new concerns, such as environmental impact and animal welfare, are arising. This book provides an overview of the principal conceptual frameworks that have been developed for understanding these changes. It shows how conventional regulation of food provision through sovereign national governments is becoming elusive, at the same time as multinational companies put serious limits to governmental interventions. In this context, other social actors including food retailers and no-governmental organizations are shown to take up innovative roles in governing food provision, but their contribution to agro-food sustainability is under continuous scrutiny. The authors apply these themes in several detailed case studies, including organic, fair trade, local food and fish. On the basis of these cases, future developments are explored, with a focus on the respective roles of agricultural producers, retailers and consumers."