Food's Frontier provides a survey of pioneering agricultural research projects underway in Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, India, China, Chile, Brazil, Mexico, and Peru by a writer both well-grounded technically and sensitive to social and cultural issues. The book starts from the premise that the "Green Revolution" which averted mass starvation a generation ago is not a long-term solution to global food needs and has created its own very serious problems. Based on increasing yields by extensive use of pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and monoculture--agribusiness-style production of single crops--this approach has poisoned both land and farm workers, encouraged new strains of pests that are resistant to ever-increasing amounts of pesticides, and killed the fertility of land by growing single crops rather than rotating crops that can replenish nutrients in the soil. Solutions to these problems are coming from a reexamination of ancient methods of agriculture that have allowed small-scale productivity over many generations. Research in the developing world, based on alternative methods and philosophies, indigenous knowledge, and native crops, joined with cutting edge technology, offer hope for a more lasting solution to the world's increasing food needs.
Richard Manning is an environmental journalist and author. Among his books are Grassland: The History, Biology, Politics and Promise of the American Prairie (1995), A Good House: Building a Life on the Land (1994), and Last Stand: Logging, Journalism, and the Case for Humility (1991). His reporting has received the Audubon Society Journalism Award, the R. J. Margolis award, and three C. B. Blethen awards.
"Food's Frontier sets a new intellectual standard for placing genomics, biotechnology, and food security into the lives of ordinary people. Richard Manning takes the reader on a worldwide tour of agriculture, displaying both its science-rich and resource-poor systems. His volume combines complex scientific principles with a remarkably accessible style. Above all, Manning demonstrates the shortage of human capital in poor countries and the need for much greater support for Third World scientists."—Paul Ehrlich, author of Human Natures