The Fate of Food

Dear Fate of Food,

I definitely have a more conscious relationship with food after meeting you. Food and water are valuable commodities, which I never considered being an unconscious consumer. I feel grateful to have had the opportunity to hear more of the researched information, yet I still feel dubious of drinking whole meals… I think I would miss food with meal replacement drinks.

With Love,

P.S. Book Details
Author: Amanda Little
Book Length: 352 pages
Book Genre: Nonfiction
Publication Date: June 2019
Awards: N/A
Synopsis: Climate models show that global crop production will decline every decade for the rest of this century due to drought, heat, and flooding. Water supplies are in jeopardy. Meanwhile, the world’s population is expected to grow another 30 percent by midcentury. So how, really, will we feed nine billion people sustainably in the coming decades?

Amanda Little, a professor at Vanderbilt University and an award-winning journalist, spent three years traveling through a dozen countries and as many U.S. states in search of answers to this question. Her journey took her from an apple orchard in Wisconsin to a remote control organic farm in Shanghai, from Norwegian fish farms to famine-stricken regions of Ethiopia.

The race to reinvent the global food system is on, and the challenge is twofold: We must solve the existing problems of industrial agriculture while also preparing for the pressures ahead. Through her interviews and adventures with farmers, scientists, activists, and engineers, Little tells the fascinating story of human innovation and explores new and old approaches to food production while charting the growth of a movement that could redefine sustainable food on a grand scale. She meets small permaculture farmers and “Big Food” executives, botanists studying ancient superfoods and Kenyan farmers growing the country’s first GMO corn. She travels to places that might seem irrelevant to the future of food yet surprisingly play a critical role–a California sewage plant, a U.S. Army research lab, even the inside of a monsoon cloud above Mumbai. Little asks tough questions: Can GMOs actually be good for the environment–and for us? Are we facing the end of animal meat? What will it take to eliminate harmful chemicals from farming? How can a clean, climate-resilient food supply become accessible to all?

Throughout her journey, Little finds and shares a deeper understanding of the threats of climate change and encounters a sense of awe and optimism about the lessons of our past and the scope of human ingenuity.


Do you ever think about how much water goes into growing food?

Do you ever wonder what food consumption will look like in 5, 10, 15 years?

Do you look into what other countries are doing about food insecurity or losing crops?

Do you think about the food you buy at the store?

Little approaches these questions and more as she writes about sustainable farming, GMOs, and creative solutions to food insecurity. I found out this book through a group of women, League of Women Voters, whose primary goal is to educate community members about current issues. I had never heard of The Fate of Food, yet the information is definitely great for current issues and conversations.

Some of what Little spoke about, specifically concerning GMOs, was new to me. She spoke about GMOs with acceptance, in a way. I have always been around people who are advocating against it, advocating strongly against. While I don’t have enough information to have an opinion, even after reading this book, I can feel my emotional response trying to reign. I definitely want to do more of my own research and I feel like this book gave me a launching off place.

Little also spoke about meat and the impacts of meat consumption on water, the earth, and the animal itself. I love her approach of honesty in her own experience. She spoke about knowing the reasons to reduce her own meat consumption, yet how much she loved meat. Her honesty was disarming to others who may feel protective of their meat. I am one of the rare people who does not enjoy meat, so I liked having a more scientific reason for not eating a lot of meat than purely my personal distaste.

The Fate of Food is a great spot to start getting information about food, water, and sustainability. I can see this being a controversial book for some readers, yet I encourage people to read beyond what your political or social stance is on the issue. To get preach-y for a second, if we only read about what we agree with, we miss so much of the world’s color and keep ourselves in a self-enforced box. While I did not agree with everything written (based on my own research), there was a lot of good information that educated me on various areas. Ok I have stepped down from my soap box. If you enjoy educational and convicting books, this was well done and has practical implications.

Goodreads | Author’s Page


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