© 2019

The Grand Food Bargain

And the Mindless Drive for More


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Taking Stock

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Kevin D. Walker
      Pages 3-18
    3. Kevin D. Walker
      Pages 19-37
  3. Forces Driving More

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 39-39
    2. Kevin D. Walker
      Pages 41-59
    3. Kevin D. Walker
      Pages 61-82
    4. Kevin D. Walker
      Pages 83-100
    5. Kevin D. Walker
      Pages 101-121
    6. Kevin D. Walker
      Pages 123-142
  4. Unexpected Consequences

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 143-143
    2. Kevin D. Walker
      Pages 145-166
    3. Kevin D. Walker
      Pages 167-186
    4. Kevin D. Walker
      Pages 187-207
  5. Decisions You’ll Make

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 209-209
    2. Kevin D. Walker
      Pages 211-230
    3. Kevin D. Walker
      Pages 231-246
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 247-327

About this book


"Of consuming interest...The 'grand food bargain' in the title is meant ironically: Our abundance of food in the West comes at a high cost to our environment and the Earth—and that's no bargain. Walker begins and ends his impassioned book on the scorched Kalahari Desert, where he and a colleague tagged along with a bushman in search of food."

Toronto Star

"Walker's The Grand Food Bargain provides an antidote: a thoughtful analysis of how the food system got into this mess...Walker reveals a disturbing political, social and economic landscape...The drive for more, he shows, demands profligate use of finite resources, from energy to land...His diagnosis has been articulated before...But Walker's experience in agribusiness adds authority...Walker left with the bubbling anxiety that our focus on technological and scientific fixes blinkers us to the environmental cost of our greed. Ignore the irrevocable laws of nature for long enough and we put our own, rather narrow, ecological niche at risk."

"Former farmer, agriculture and agribusiness expert, and professor Walker reveals the truth about this presumed never-ending food abundance...Ultimately, Walker emphasizes the fact that people do have the power to shift the scales back to quality food choices, which will positively affect farming, economic development, and the environment around the world. An enlightened view of global food policies and the changes necessary for a viable future."

"Compelling and revelatory. Kevin Walker combines decades of on-the-ground experience as an agribusiness expert with the sweeping analysis of a historian. What emerges is an urgent and entirely new understanding of our modern food supply.”
Christopher Leonard, author of "The Meat Racket: The Secret Takeover of America's Food Business"

“A former USDA insider’s account of what our Grand Food Bargain—a system focused on ever-increasing production of cheap food—actually costs Americans in poor health, environmental degradation, and loss of agrarian values and community. Walker’s views are well worth reading for his insights into how our food system needs to be transformed.”    
Marion Nestle, Professor Emerita at New York University and author of "Unsavory Truth: How Food Companies Skew the Science of What We Eat"

The Grand Food Bargain by Kevin Walker pokes a hole in our Red Barn Syndrome, America’s romantic notion of farming. Walker calls out Big Ag and its self-assigned duty to ‘feed the world,’ which justifies practices that aren’t environmentally or scientifically sound. The Grand Food Bargain is a call to rethink everything we think we know about what we eat.”
Peggy Lowe, Investigations Editor at Harvest Public Media and NPR-affiliate KCUR

This book is downright brilliant. Walker’s deep insights and analysis steer the reader to positive and unforetold conclusions. He shows us that food markets are not inexorable, that consumers have choices, and that societal deals we eaters have settled for in the past need not be the nutrition milieu we bargain for in the future.”
Paul Terry, CEO and President, Health Enhancement Research Organization and author of "Well-Advised: A Practical Guide to Everyday Health Decisions"


environmental resilience industrial food production political influence processed foods sustainability

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Chemistry/Biochemistry & MolecularMichigan State UniversityMasonUSA

About the authors

Kevin Walker is a professor at Michigan State University. Originally recruited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Walker directed a center focused on emerging issues affecting animal agriculture. He later became a Fellow with the Kellogg National Leadership Program and launched the Executive Leadership in Food Safety initiative where he proposed and developed a flagship training course with the World Trade Organization. He has also served on two Institute of Medicine National Research Council committees within the National Academies. 

Bibliographic information

Industry Sectors
Chemical Manufacturing
Consumer Packaged Goods