Biowatch 1, South African Govt 0

Some good news from South Africa, the pesticide industry’s beachhead on the continent. In 2000, Biowatch a South African public interest NGO applied for information about the government’s regulation of biotechnology. The government dragged its feet. So Biowatch sued the government. Monsanto piled in on the government’s side to prevent access to the information. In court, the government lost. But Biowatch was told to pay costs.

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Breadline USA

Breadline USA cover

One of my oldest friends, Sasha Abramsky, has turned his incredible journalistic eye away from the prison-industrial-complex (on which he has written many fine books), to looking at the food system. The fruits of his labours will soon be available, and Breadline USA is well worth the read. It’s a harrowing and keenly observed expose of America’s ongoing hunger. And, if you’re in Northern California, you can meet Sasha in person at his book launch in Sacramento on June 16th. Details in the attachment. And if you can’t make it, here’s a podcast in which Sasha tells all.


I’m very much looking forward to seeing the new film by Steve McQueen (no, this Steve McQueen) about hunger-striking IRA prisoners, entitled Hunger. I’ll write about that when I’ve seen it, but in the meantime, here’s another film, La Faim – ‘hunger’ in French – that remixes ideas of hunger, gluttony, desire and fear. It’s an entirely captivating eleven minutes long, and one of first 1970s stabs at computer animation.

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Swine Flu Roundup

cartoon of food system deaths

Once again, apologies for the lengthy intermission between posts here at Stuffed and Starved. I’ve been working my next book, which has taken a little more time and travel than I’d have liked. But the results will, I think, be worth it. My most recent research trip involved going to visit the Zapatistas in Chiapas, which means that your intrepid writer has recently returned from Mexico. There are many stories to share, and if you’re in New York, you can hear me talking about it on WBAI tomorrow morning, or at the Brooklyn Food Conference on Saturday.

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The World According to Monsanto

Here’s a film that’s well worth watching. It’s long, and the framing device of a woman Googling away her ignorance about one of the world’s most powerful corporations is, I think, a little crass. But perhaps because the film maker seems so naive, she has been able to get some of the most important men behind the scenes of the pesticide and genetically modified seed business to explain how they came to wield such power. I doubt that a more polished film crew would have been able to draw out some of the confessions that appear in this nearly-two-hour documentary. Highly recommended.

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