Why is it that food prices are so high that millions of South African families go hungry, while the prices paid to farmers for that same food are so low that many cannot stay in business? Why are the people that produce our food – farmworkers – among the most insecure of all? Why do high levels of rural poverty persist while corporate profits in the food sector keep rising? How did a country with a constitutional right to food become a place where 1 in 4 children is so malnourished that they are classified as stunted?
An Empty Plate analyses the state of the South African agri-food system. Tracy Ledger demonstrates how this system is perpetuating poverty, threatening land reform; entrenching inequality and tearing apart our social fabric. The book asks two crucial questions: how did we get to this point and how might we go about solving the problem.
This is a story of money, of power, of unanticipated consequences, and of personal and social tragedy. But it is also a story of what is possible if we reimagine our society and build a new system on the foundation of solidarity and ethical food citizenship.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tracy Ledger is a South African researcher in the field of economic development, with 25 years of research experience. She holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of the Witwatersrand and a Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from Stellenbosch University. She is an agri-food activist, believing that a more equitable agri-food system is fundamental to building a more equitable society.