Guthman's book named one of the best of 2019

Photo of book cover

Julie Guthman's book Wilted: Pathogens, Chemicals, and the Fragile Future of the Strawberry Industry, has been named one of the best 2019 books about the U.S. food system, according to U.S. Right to Know, a nonprofit investigative research group focused on the food industry.

In the book, Guthman, a professor of social sciences, writes about a confluence of factors unique to the California's strawberry industry that are making the industry's future quite uncertain. Those factors include high up-front costs, labor shortages, increased pesticide regulation, the sky-high cost of coastal acreage, and the impacts of climate change, including hotter and drier conditions. The biggest factor that set the crisis in motion, according to Guthman, was the industry's early embrace of chemical-intensive fumigants to control soil-borne pathogens that cause strawberry plants to wilt and die. 

In announcing their list of the best books and films about the food system, the organization said, "At U.S. Right to Know, we believe that transparency—in the marketplace and in politics—is crucial to building a healthier food system for our children, our families and our world. Kudos to the journalists and filmmakers who are exposing how powerful food and chemical industry interests impact our health and the environment."