Food Bank Nations: Poverty, Corporate Charity and the Right to Food

Food Bank Nations: Poverty, Corporate Charity and the Right to Food

by Graham Riches


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In the world’s most affluent and food secure societies, why is it now publicly acceptable to feed donated surplus food, dependent on corporate food waste, to millions of hungry people? While recognizing the moral imperative to feed hungry people, this book challenges the effectiveness, sustainability and moral legitimacy of globally entrenched corporate food banking as the primary response to rich world food poverty. It investigates the prevalence and causes of domestic hunger and food waste in OECD member states, the origins and thirty-year rise of US style charitable food banking, and its institutionalization and corporatization. It unmasks the hidden functions of transnational corporate food banking which construct domestic hunger as a matter for charity thereby allowing indifferent and austerity-minded governments to ignore increasing poverty and food insecurity and their moral, legal and political obligations, under international law, to realize the right to food.

The book’s unifying theme is understanding the food bank nation as a powerful metaphor for the deep hole at the centre of neoliberalism, illustrating: the de-politicization of hunger; the abandonment of social rights; the stigma of begging and loss of human dignity; broken social safety nets; the dysfunctional food system; the shift from income security to charitable food relief; and public policy neglect. It exposes the hazards of corporate food philanthropy and the moral vacuum within negligent governments and their lack of public accountability. The advocacy of civil society with a right to food bite is urgently needed to gather political will and advance ‘joined-up’ policies and courses of action to ensure food security for all.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781138739758
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 05/02/2018
Series: Routledge Studies in Food, Society and the Environment Series
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 6.25(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Graham Riches is Emeritus Professor and former Director of the School of Social Work, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. As author and co-editor he has published widely on rich world domestic hunger, social policy and the right to food including Food Banks and the Welfare Crisis (1985); First World Hunger (1997) and First World Hunger Revisited (2014).

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: wasted food for hungry people

Part I Domestic hunger to charitable food banking

2. Food poverty and rich world hunger

3. The rise of Food Bank Nations

Part II Corporate capture

4. Corporate capture and rich world consolidation

5. Corporate food waste manufacturing surplus food

6. Corporate food banking: solution or problem

7. Corporate food charity: false promises of solidarity

Part III Rights talk and public policy

8. Collective Solidarity and the Right to food: moral, legal and political obligations

9. Public Accountability and the Right to Food: international monitoring to the rescue

10. Civil society with a right to food bite: reclaiming public policy

Part IV Gathering political will11. Changing the conversation: challenging propositions

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