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Food for thought: 5 eye-opening books on sustainable food reform

4 min read
AUTHOR: Ross Carver-Carter
Food for thought: 5 eye-opening books on sustainable food reform

The food system has a prodigious environmental impact, representing the leading cause of deforestation, biodiversity loss and freshwater pollution globally. Second to energy, it’s also the main generator of greenhouse gases.

Far from nourishing us, the global food system is driving a rise in lifestyle diseases such as type 2 diabetes and obesity also. The following five books offer a blueprint for change, laying out key recommendations and visionary thought-leadership for how we can nourish people whilst nurturing the earth.

1. Ravenous: How To Get The Planet And Ourselves Into Shape

by Henry Dimbleby

The front cover of Ravenous by Henry Dimbleby

In Ravenous, the UK’s former food tsar Henry Dimbleby highlights the environmental cost of food production and shines a light on the rise of diet-related disease in the developed world.

Dimbleby effortlessly navigates the latest nutritional science, taking readers on a tour de force throughout the inner workings of the modern food system.

Drawing on his extensive research for the National Food Strategy he authored in 2021, Dimbleby lays out an evidence-based manifesto for a more sustainable and healthy food system, one that nourishes people without harming the planet.

2. Eating to Extinction: The World’s Rarest Foods and Why We Need to Save Them

by Dan Saladino

Eating to Extinction by Dan Saladino front cover

All of us are familiar with animals that have either gone extinct or are in danger of doing so, but have you ever spared a thought for the foods and drinks at risk of vanishing forever?

In Eating to Extinction, Saladino shines a light on the world’s most endangered delicacies, from exploding corn in Mexico to the ubiquitous Cavendish banana under threat by the TR4 plant virus.

Beyond their cultural and culinary value, Saladino shows that preserving edible biodiversity is essential for a sustainable food future, offering an insurance policy against looming threats such as climate change, war, and disease.

3. Feeding Britain: Our Food Problems and How to Fix Them

by Tim Lang

Feeding Britain by Tim Lang front cover

Tim Lang is one of the foremost experts on food systems and policy. In Feeding Britain, he appraises the UK food system from farm to fork, identifying key vulnerabilities in our supply chains and offering bold solutions to help future-proof food production.

How does Britain get its food? Why is our current system at breaking point? And how can we fix it before it is too late?

Lang deftly unpacks these questions and makes a compelling case for why our food system needs urgent reform. As insightful as it is timely, Feeding Britain is an exemplary manifesto for a more resilient, sustainable food system.

4. Food 5.0: How We Feed the Future

by Robert D. Saik

Food 5.0 by Richard D. Saik front cover

The population is forecast to grow to 10 billion by 2050, meaning farmers around the world must increase food production by 60 to 70%. In other words, we must produce 10,000 years’ worth of food in the next thirty years.

In Food 5.0, Robert Saik takes readers on a journey from the “muscle era” of farming to a future where the convergence of new technologies like sensors, robotics, and machine learning make infinite sustainability achievable.

Thrilling and informative in equal measure, Saik shows that through innovation and ingenuity, we can meet the demands of tomorrow.

In the meantime, you can explore some of the latest developments in agri-tech and food innovation at Food Matters Live right now.

5. Regenesis: Feeding the Planet Without Devouring the Earth

by George Monbiot

Regenesis by George Monbiot front cover

In Regenesis, Monbiot exposes the environmental cost of modern farming methods – intensive in nature and destructive to landscapes, wildlife and more broadly, the planet.

Seeking to redress this, Monbiot sets out a sustainable vision for food production founded on soil-ecology and cutting edge agri-tech.

From those using microbes to brew proteins to the perennial grain breeders displacing ploughs and pesticides, Monbiot offers a blueprint for how we can feed a growing population without devouring the earth in the process.

Hosted by Seyi Rhodes and Samira Ahmed with guests including Sir Jonathon Porritt and Patrick Holden CBE, the Sustainable Food Forum will highlight the environmental cost of food production and spotlight bold solutions for a sustainable food future. Join the discussion and be a part of the change.