Diet for a Dead Planet: How the Food Industry is Killing Us

By Christopher D. Cook. <I>New Press</I>. $24.95.

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


Just looking at its putrescent manure-green dust jacket, it’s clear that Diet for a Dead Planet isn’t light fare. Inside, Christopher Cook lays out a far-reaching takedown of the American food industry, from factory farms to supermarkets to federal regulators. Dead Planet further explores the stomach-churning realm described by Eric Schlosser and others, where a corporate oligarchy increasingly controls our food from farm to grocery shelf, to the detriment of our health and the environment.

Cook takes a disturbing look at the food-borne bacteria that kill thousands of Americans each year and are becoming more resilient thanks to the meat industry’s addiction to antibiotics. He shows us corporate lawyers menacing a rural African American woman in her 90s for complaining about a giant hog farm. (“We will ask the court to put you in prison,” they write in a cease-and-desist letter.) Cook also investigates how supermarket chains shake down food producers for kickbacks called “slotting fees” that can run into the millions of dollars and effectively keep small or independent food producers off the shelves. (Eliot Spitzer, where are you?)

If Cook sees some glimmers of hope in the upsurge of community gardening and the organics movement, he has some grim predictions here, too. As “natural” foods become more lucrative, they risk getting sucked into the machine, becoming just another offering in the “corporate cornucopia.”

WE CAME UP SHORT.

We just wrapped up a shorter-than-normal, urgent-as-ever fundraising drive and we came up about $45,000 short of our $300,000 goal.

That means we're going to have upwards of $350,000, maybe more, to raise in online donations between now and June 30, when our fiscal year ends and we have to get to break-even. And even though there's zero cushion to miss the mark, we won't be all that in your face about our fundraising again until June.

So we urgently need this specific ask, what you're reading right now, to start bringing in more donations than it ever has. The reality, for these next few months and next few years, is that we have to start finding ways to grow our online supporter base in a big way—and we're optimistic we can keep making real headway by being real with you about this.

Because the bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. The only investors who won’t let independent, investigative journalism down are the people who actually care about its future—you.

And we hope you might consider pitching in before moving on to whatever it is you're about to do next. We really need to see if we'll be able to raise more with this real estate on a daily basis than we have been, so we're hoping to see a promising start.

payment methods

WE CAME UP SHORT.

We just wrapped up a shorter-than-normal, urgent-as-ever fundraising drive and we came up about $45,000 short of our $300,000 goal.

That means we're going to have upwards of $350,000, maybe more, to raise in online donations between now and June 30, when our fiscal year ends and we have to get to break-even. And even though there's zero cushion to miss the mark, we won't be all that in your face about our fundraising again until June.

So we urgently need this specific ask, what you're reading right now, to start bringing in more donations than it ever has. The reality, for these next few months and next few years, is that we have to start finding ways to grow our online supporter base in a big way—and we're optimistic we can keep making real headway by being real with you about this.

Because the bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. The only investors who won’t let independent, investigative journalism down are the people who actually care about its future—you.

And we hope you might consider pitching in before moving on to whatever it is you're about to do next. We really need to see if we'll be able to raise more with this real estate on a daily basis than we have been, so we're hoping to see a promising start.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate