Under: Publications, The Commons, Trade and Investment

Food Is Different:
Why we must get the WTO out of Agriculture

by Peter M. Rosset

Why does our global food system give us expensive, unhealthy and
bad-tasting food, where we pay more for packaging and long-distance
shipping than we do for the food itself?   Why do farmers and
peasants from around the world lead massive protests each and every
time the World Trade Organization (WTO) meets?

Peter Rosset explains how the runaway free trade policies and
neo-liberal economics of the WTO, American government and European
Union kill farmers, and give us a food system that nobody outside a
small corporate elite wants.

This essential guide sets out an alternative vision for agricultural
policy, taking it completely out of the WTO's ambit. Food is not just
another commodity, to be bought and sold like a microchip, but something
which goes to the heart of human livelihood, culture and society.

'Food is Different makes the case, with clarity and passion, for
rebuilding the global food system beyond the unequal and devastating
consequences of the WTO 'free trade' regime. Rosset guides us through the
thicket of rules and regulations, explaining their irreversible impact on
social and ecological sustainability and engaging us with a powerful and
compelling catalogue of alternatives, captured in the concept of "food

– Philip McMichael, Cornell University

'Food is Different comes at a time where the WTO is being criticized and
discredited by both  governments and civil society, and it brings to the
fore the real alternatives being proposed by social movements all over the
world.  This is a timely publication that gives voice and expression to
those who have none.'

– Paul Nicholson, European Farmers Coordination (CPE) and La Via Campesina

'Peter Rosset eloquently illustrates that good is the basis of human
existence and that it intertwines the lives of farmers, consumers and the
environment.  Food is Different should be read by all who are willing to
build food sovereignty on a local, regional and global level as well as by
those who believe the current WTO system is working – it will change their

– Andrianna Natsoulas, Food and Water Watch


Prologue: Speak the Truth:  Exclude the WTO from Agriculture, by Lee Kyung
Hae Foreword: Farmers Around the World Lose out Under the WTO, by George
Naylor Introduction: What is Food?  Trade versus Development? 1. Trade
Negotiations and Trade Liberalization 2. Key Issues, Misconceptions,
Points of Disagreement and Alternative Paradigms 3. Dumping and Subsidies:
 Unravelling the Confusion 4. The Impact of Liberalized Agricultural Trade
5. Alternatives for a Different Agriculture and Food System Conclusion –
Another Food System is Possible Special Topics: How the WTO Rules
Agriculture Government Negotiating Blocs Where European and American
Family Farmers Stand Where Peasant and Family Farm Organizations Stand
Food from Family Farms Act: a Proposal for the 2007 US Farm Bill For a
Legitimate, Sustainable and Supportive CAP People's Food Sovereignty

About the Author

Peter Rosset is a food rights activist and agro-ecologist.  He is
based in Chiapas, Mexico, where he is a researcher at the Centro de
Estudios para el Cambio en el Campo Mexicano (Center for Studies of
Rural Change in Mexico), and co-coordinator of the Land Research
Action Network (http://www.landaction.org).  He is also Global
Alternatives Associate of the Center for the Study of the Americas
and is a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Environmental Science,
Policy & Management of  the University of California.  His previous books
include: The Case for GM-Free Sustainable World (2003); Sustainable
Agriculture and Resistance: Transforming Food Production in Cuba (2002);
and World Hunger: Twelve Myths (1998), among others.


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