Book Review? The Fate of Food: What We'll Eat in a Bigger, Hotter, Smarter World

Why is this post under the fashion portion of this wonderful website? Well, I think reading is sexy and knowledge and an open mind are part of a good fashion sense.

I aim to read fifty-two books a year. Honestly, reading helps me fall asleep and if I didn’t read for a couple of hours before bed I would likely never fall asleep because my mind would be racing about how to better organize my life, whales, fishing, schedules, shoes, and this thing that happened in middle school that was embarrassing and still haunts me.

I just finished up a book by Amanda Little called The Fate of Food and it is so insightful and forward thinking. I have written (and won’t shut up about) how hypocritical I think people are when it comes to their diets and the environment. The Fate of Food discusses our food system in a way that is honest, realistic, and solution-oriented, rather than shame and ego-driven, (E)NGO mission-driven, or buzz word-y, or privileged, or bullshitty. It is SO GOOD. Things like, stop fucking worrying about GMOs. (She does not swear in the book but I swear IRL so here we are.) Anti-GMO arguments are quite privileged; the farmers in Africa tell a very different story about their seeds that have been selected to grow during drought, increase the speed of their harvest, and reduce food waste. Famine is a legit thing, guys, and it could be coming to a neighborhood near you if you don’t start getting a bit more honest about climate change and food systems.

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You may ask yourself, "Well, how did I get here?" (Talking Heads anyone?)

One of the things Little talks about in the book is “third way” solutions or thinking. We are never going to get rid of industrial farms but how do we supplement the system so farmers can maintain their livelihoods, we can all reduce how much red meat we eat, and feed more and more people? Enter things like lab-grown meats. Lab-grown meats are not “wrong,” they are a solution to a rapidly growing population and desperate need to reduce our carbon footprints. I believe, and she discusses this a bit, similarly when it comes to aquaculture and wild-caught commercial fishing. We need BOTH, and yes, that includes farming weird shit like bluefin tuna and supporting wild-caught fisheries in ways that don’t negatively impact fishermen’s business models and support ocean health.

Here are some of the quotes that I highlighted while reading:

“Absurdly, the greenhouse gases that now threaten the future of the world’s farms are also largely produced by the farms themselves, especially the big mechanized ones. Most of us generate more planet-warming emissions from eating than we do from driving or flying.”

“They [farmers] live closer to the land in much greater numbers than we do, which means they inherently possess a deeper commitment to sustainability.” (I’d argue the same is true for fishermen, especially when it comes to weather patterns, ocean health, and changing seasons.)

“I understood then what I’d previously known only in abstract terms – that when a food system collapses under the stress of drought or any other pressure, so do the communities that depend on it.”

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These quotes weigh quite heavy in my heart and on my mind, especially the last one. Why is it so easy to consider the loss of wild-caught fisheries as something that wouldn’t hugely impact our communities? Fishermen and their businesses are part of the food system, guys. And if I might be alarm-y for a hot sec, fishing was one of the very first ways in which our human-ish ancestors acquired food. If wild-caught fishing declines severely, is that a signal that our food systems are also severely declining? Methinks yes, but me also ain’t an economist or scientist.

My goal with the Pesce Eater Challenge that is coming up this October, National Seafood Month, is to put some of this in perspective in a way that is actionable, positive, forward-thinking, and will help increase the amount of seafood in your diet. Sign up now and starting October 1, every day you’ll receive an email with a quick prompt. The goal of each prompt is to introduce an article, thought, recipe, or action that will help you on your way to eating a diet that is environmentally friendly, light on land-based meats, and more filled with seafood and plant-based foods. Sign up and learn more HERE.

Next up on my reading list:

  • The Fuck It Diet

  • The Reality Bubble

  • Eat Like A Fish

I’d love to hear about what you’re reading! Shoot me an email at monique@aragostamama.com.