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New Book Challenges Agribusiness Industrial Agriculture. Leading Ecological Thinkers and Activists Offer Vision for New Food Future

May 30th, 2002

The Center for Food Safety announced the release of Fatal Harvest: The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture, a book that takes an unprecedented look at our nation’s destructive farming practices, and offers positive solutions in support of a new vision of farming. Fatal Harvest shows how thousands of people are working to fundamentally reshape agriculture, to produce food in a way that respects farmers, communities, and the environment. With essays from more than 40 leading environmental thinkers and organic food and farming advocates including Wendell Berry, Wes Jackson, David Ehrenfeld, Helena Norberg- Hodge, Vandana Shiva, Alice Waters, and Jim Hightower, and over 250 color photographs, Fatal Harvest illustrates the current state of America’s agricultural crisis.

“This book presents images that are stunning and often shocking, revealing industrial food production as a fatal harvest: fatal to consumers, as pesticide residues and new disease vectors find their way into our food supply; fatal to our landscapes, as chemical runoff poisons our rivers and groundwater; and fatal to our rural communities, which are wiped out by huge corporate farms,” stated Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety.

“Global agriculture is not just a threat to U.S. farmers but is devastating families, communities, farm economies, cultures, the environment, and traditional knowledge systems around the globe,” said internationally renowned activist Dr. Vandana Shiva.

Ultimately, Fatal Harvest offers positive solutions to the model of industrial agriculture, by featuring safe and sustainable food and farming systems. “The choices we make when we buy food are serious choices, and today more and more people understand this,” said famed chef Alice Waters. “We all know that when people choose organic foods and avoid mass-produced and fast foods, they are voting for a sustainable future and against a network of supply and demand that destroys human health, local communities, and the environment.”


Fatal Harvest will be a central organizing tool for a national campaign to promote alternatives to the current industrial agricultural system. The Center for Food Safety’s Organic & Beyond campaign is a broad coalition of environmental and agricultural organizations working to maintain strong organic standards and promote agriculture that is local, family operated, biologically diverse, humane, and socially just. In the coming months, the campaign will be taking direct action to ensure that the nation’s organic standards do not allow loopholes for factory farming, genetic engineering, or other unacceptable agricultural inputs. The campaign will also take legal and policy actions that seek to encourage “beyond organic” farming; educate consumers about these farms and their practices; and build demand in the marketplace for these “beyond organic” products.

“The national organic standards do little to protect the small-scale organic farmer,” said Jason McKenney, owner of Purisima Greens farm in Half Moon Bay, CA. “Consumers want and need information that will enable them to identify produce that is grown truly sustainably – produced locally, on a small family farm, and in a way that enhances the surrounding environment.”

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