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Raj Patel: Food Sovereignty          [Click graphics to see video and books]

Raj Patel is an academic, journalist, activist, and writer who was raised in England, but has lived and worked in Zimbabwe and South Africa. He now lives in the United States with his wife and son and became an American citizen in 2010.

 

Patel's 2008 book, Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System is considered the authoritative work on the world's food crisis. His 2009 book is The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy was on The New York Times best-seller list in February 2010. Patel has been referred to as "the rock star of social justice writing". He is currently a visiting scholar in the Center for African Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, as well as a Fellow at  the Institute of Food and Development Policy, and a Research Associate at the School of Development Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.

Patel received a BA in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE), from Oxford, a master's degree from the London School of Economics, and gained his PhD in Development Sociology from Cornell University in 2002. He has been a visiting scholar at Yale and the University of Texas at Austin. As part of his academic training, he worked at the World Bank, World Trade Organization, and the United Nations. Patel has since become an outspoken public critic of all of these organizations,
 

Patel was one of many organizers in the 1999 Battle in Seattle against globalization at the World Trade Organization meeting, and has organized in support of food sovereignty. He is associated through his work on food with the Via Campesina movement, and through his work on urban poverty and resistance with the Landless Peoples MovementIn 2012, he appeared in the National Film Board of Canada documentary Payback, based on Margaret Atwood's Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of WealthHe also appears in the 2013 documentary film A Place at the Table.

 

The video below gives an indication of the scope of Patel's concerns which include food sovereignty, support for biodiversity, La Via Campesina (Peasants' Way), grassroots democracy, decentralization of power, the importance of women's unpaid work, ending all forms of violence against women, small organic farms for local consumption rather than export, as well as challenging the role of global corporations, governments, and institutions like the World Bank.

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