If you’re reading this, you have probably heard of Diet for a Small Planet, a ground-breaking book written in 1971 by Frances Moore Lappé that critiqued grain-fed meat and argued that bad food policy is the cause for food scarcity. Maybe you have a copy of this book sitting on your shelf. Maybe it turned you on to healthy eating decades ago. (I was eating hot dogs and cheese whiz in the 70s).
I’ve got to admit she left her audience feeling very inspired.
She argues that there is plenty of food in this world to go around for everyone, but scarcity exists due to our food policies, which allow for uneven and unfair food production and distribution.
Scarcity is human-made. And as the Global North grabs up chunks of Africa the size of France for farmland, it doesn’t paint a pretty picture for the future. The health hazard here is not the lack of food, it is the food supply chain.
Lappé suggests that as along as Money controls the politicians, and the politicians allow policies that help Money, the food situation will only worsen.
But Lappé gives hope – because, after all, no one wakes up in the morning anticipating wonderful ways to really screw things up for people less fortunate.
She gives concrete examples of how change is possible. From re-greening efforts in Niger that successfully created 12.5 million acres of new fertile land, to 8000 villagers in Andrah Pradesh agreeing to avoid farming with pesticides, to President Lula’s Forme Zero, in Brazil, which made food access a human right, to Wangari Maathai, who founded the Green Belt Movement in Kenya and won a Nobel Peace Prize for her work.
Lappé’s new book, EcoMind, explains how our mindset can have a lot to do with what we see as possible. If we don’t think differently, we will never solve our current crisis. From food availability to food quality, the current system does not work for 99% of the people living on this planet, nor does it work for 100% of the Earth itself.
If you care about food, read this book.
“The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism …”
- Franklin D. Roosevelt, addressing U.S. Congress, April 29, 1938.