Growing a Better Future

Food justice in a resource-constrained world

Published: 31 May 2011

The global food system works only for the few – for most of us it is broken. It leaves the billions of us who consume food lacking sufficient power and knowledge about what we buy and eat and the majority of small food producers disempowered and unable to fulfil their productive potential.

The failure of the system flows from failures of government – failures to regulate, to correct, to protect, to resist, to invest – which mean that companies, interest groups, and elites are able to plunder resources and to redirect flows of finance, knowledge, and food.

This report describes a new age of growing crisis: food price spikes and oil price hikes, devastating weather events, financial meltdowns, and global contagion. Behind each of these, slow-burn crises smoulder: creeping and insidious climate change, growing inequality, chronic hunger and vulnerability, the erosion of our natural resources.

Based on the experience and research of Oxfam staff and partners around the world and, Growing a Better Future shows how the food system is at once a driver of this fragility and highly vulnerable to it, and why in the twenty-first century it leaves 925 million people hungry.

The report presents new research forecasting price rises for staple grains in the range of 120–180 per cent within the next two decades, as resource pressures mount and climate change takes hold. For more on interpreting the food price scenarios outlined in Growing a Better Future, see the Note on Food Price Scenarios added in November 2011.

Growing a Better Future supports a new campaign with a simple message: another future is possible, and we can build it together.


In the new eBook editions, Oxfam presents expanded versions of case studies, from Bolivia to Malawi, alongside new papers and research which develop and update the main themes of the report.

The expanded EPUB Edition, available to download here (above), will give you the optimal reading experience on Android and Windows Phone 7 devices, and can also be accessed using iOS devices or a desktop eBook reader.

An enhanced iBook Edition – for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch – including an additional video endorsement from Brazil’s former President Lula da Silva and a short documentary on India’s failing food system, is available to download free from the iBookstore.

An expanded Kindle Edition is also available to download free from the Amazon Kindle Store.


Growing a Better Future: Food justice in a resource-constrained world