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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Who Wants Pizza? Written by Jan Thornhill. Maple Tree Press, Owlkids Books. 2010. $12.95 ages 10 and up

"Food marketers spend a lot
of money studying kids. They
know all about pester power -
the ways kids get their parents to
buy things for them. Marketers
know that the bitter flavors kids
don't like can be disguised with
sugar and salt."

As kids and families in North America face an epidemic in obesity and diabetes, the time has come to learn more about what got us here. It is important that our society and governments recognize how the medical and financial toll for this epidemic will shape our future. We need to be in this together. While other parts of the world face starvation and malnutrition, we overconsume junk food. And, can we really call it food?

Things have changed big time since our great-grandparents and grandparents grew or raised much of what the family consumed each year. Jan Thornhill shares her views (and her research) on a difficult subject...our relationship with food. She is not afraid to tell it like it is; she gives her readers cause to think and to consider
how we get energy from the food we eat, how food impacts our daily lives, and how foods are being produced today, compared to past generations:

"Factory farms can house 250,000 animals at a time and are designed to save money. Because disease spreads easily in such crowded conditions, antibiotics are regularly fed to the animals whether they are sick or not. None go outside. Most have no bedding. Their waste pollutes land and water. But the world wants meat - and most people don't want to pay much for that meat."

It's not a pretty picture.  Her careful research and sensitive, honest writing brings some of the world's real food issues to her readers. She presents them in honest and accessible bits of information that are accompanied by clear captioned photos. We don't know how our future will be compromised by some of the farming practices that are being used today. Animals are being mistreated and livestock production has a huge impact in terms of greenhouse gases and global warming. But, there are viable alternatives.

Jan Thornhill offers hope and options for those who want to make a difference in the world today. We can reduce the amount of meat we eat, buy from local farmers, and learn more about cooking our own meals. Each of those things can have a personal and global effect. This book is a wake-up call for each one of us.

I will leave you with a challenge from Jan Thornhill:

"Instead of becoming full vegetarians, many people who are concerned about food issues, such as animal
welfare, the environment, world hunger, and their own health, are choosing to be flexitarians - occasional meat eaters. If everyone went meatless for just one day a week, each year we would save massive amounts of fuel, water, and grain, and we'd also prevent the release of millions of tons of greenhouse gases!"

Can YOU do it?

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