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

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  1,010 ratings  ·  173 reviews
In the fascinating story of the sustainable food revolution, an environmental journalist and professor asks the question: Is the future of food looking bleak--or better than ever?

"In The Fate of Food, Amanda Little takes us on a tour of the future. The journey is scary, exciting, and, ultimately, encouraging."--Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sixth
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published June 4th 2019 by Harmony
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Diane S ☔
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 5000-2019, lor-2019
A entertaining of informative look at our future food sources, and the new technology bring developed. It opens with a chicken pie room, yes a whole room dedicated to making chicken pie in a bag. These ready made, easy to prepare meals have a market that will surprise. Robots that can thin lettuce and spray chemicals on only the weeds. The myths and realities of all the chemicals used, as well as the truth about GMOs.

Takes us to Kenya, and the resistant strains of corn they are planting in answe
Clif Hostetler
This book explores what the future holds for food in the face the uncertainties and problems such as population growth, climate change, and water shortages. Beginning with existing problems such as waste, undernutrition, overconsumption, and harm to biodiversity, the book proceeds to explore various proposed new technologies that may provide improved food production and nutrition.

The book acknowledges both positive and negative opinions as it describes the new technologies. The author, Amanda L
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Fate of Food is a tremendous piece from award-winning environmental journalist Amanda Little and explores novel ideas and advancements we may have to take up given the world population is constantly rising and we are also facing threats to the planet such as global warming which will have a big impact on our food production capabilities. What we need is a sustainable way of producing food and the race to discover it is on. This is intensely thought-provoking and written in a relaxed, convers ...more
Bam cooks the books ;-)
I was half expecting another doom and gloom book about how global climate change and big ag and their chemicals, pesticides and GMOs are destroying the Earth. There was some of that but this book contained so much more! It is a well-researched look at what is being developed to help cope with our changing world and how we grow and provide food for our burgeoning population. Amanda Little's writing style is very readable: it's in depth as she covers each topic but not dry or overly scientific. I ...more
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-cooking
The first way is the crummy way that we've always done things -- wasteful, exploitive, short-sighted, brainless.

The second way is an attempt to remedy the first way by the joyless application of a thousand new rules, regulations, and prohibitions, to the point of criminalizing acting with normal levels of human self-interest.

The third way is, apparently, the unleashing of profit-driven creativity and new technology to remedy the problems created by the first way.

Will the third way actually work?
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
From the beginning of the introduction, I already felt some trepidation that this wasn't going to be the book for me. There is a certain style of long-form writing that is almost memoir-like. The author becomes a primary character in the story and the writing becomes more about the journey they go on to reach a new understanding than anything else. Some people love that kind of non-fiction. This book spends more time talking about the farmers than about science.

But that wasn't the book I was hop
Sep 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I can’t say enough about how excellent and essential this book is. If you think you know just how bad things are for our food supply, you don’t. Maybe you believe that your veganism or shopping local helps. It’s precious little. But the best thing about this book is not its pessimistic read on reality, it’s the hope it provides for the essential marriage of technology, innovation, ecological responsibility, and a reclaiming of ancient methods. As a whole, all of these approaches together can ens ...more
Lindsay Shields
Aug 31, 2019 rated it liked it
An important read for everyone. It acknowledges the severity of climate change impact on food sources as well as addresses issues such as food waste and nutrition quality. However I thought the narrator was annoying and often painfully ignorant which made this book a less enjoyable read. Additionally I did not like how she chose to only investigate extreme science endeavors that are often looked at as risky. While the extreme science is cool and interesting to read about, I wished she would have ...more
Jun 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic book. Amanda has done extensive amounts of research and investigation into the world of food, and addresses some of the most pressing questions current and future generations will have to face. The book is informative, fascinating, and fun to read, and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone.
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was sent to me free of charge in return for an honest review. Although this book is not an easy read it is very informative and current. I appreciated the fact that it wasn't all doom and gloom about the current state and future of our food. Indeed, the reader will learn of many new techniques, many using technology, which will sustain our food system into the future. I also thought the author's inclusion of photos not only helped with her explanation of processes and technology but al ...more
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book describes the evolution of the way we eat food and predicts the direction the world is going in nutrition. It had some unexpected viewpoints - that GMOs aren't always bad and processed food has its benefits, and I could see the points the author was making. I'm somewhat of a traditionalist when it comes to food. I like the old ways of growing, cooking, and preserving. I'm a scaredy cat when it comes to the changes we're making in the world of nutrition, and I wish the author had addres ...more
Laura Ghitoi
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I have ever read. It is so well packed with stories, information, emotion and impact that it's hard to not feel engaged by this book to contribute to the food challenges it presents.
I loved that the author consciously presented more sides to the same story, for instance the Monsanto seeds or organic farming. The truth has often times many facets, and this book aligns well with this principle.
I have underlined so many quotes that it's hard to pick a favourite, but hopefully
Wallis Greenslade
Apr 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
An INCREDIBLY slow read by me. However, that’s not to say that it was the fault of the book, although the second half I found infinitely more engaging with a deeper insight into the author’s personal perspective and experience. Good book, heaps of fascinating cases that helped me map out further my understanding of the current, past and future food systems of our finite earth. As a marine biologist, I was particularly taken with the description of aquaculture as a leading option for sustainable ...more
Nov 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Such an in depth exploration of all of the different ways we produce food in the world, and what the challenges are. Before reading this & starting my masters in sustainable food, I had been totally for a complete re-invention of the food system, all about urban gardens and hydroponics. I still do think those are great solutions for certain regions, but this book opened my eyes to the myriad of ways we can use food production to provide resiliency and security for communities suffering from diff ...more
Casey Wheeler
This book is well written and researched. The author traveled far and wide to provide a look into what is currently being developed due to challenges from global warming. Each chapter deals with a different topic ranging from reestablishing ancient foods with some modifications, food waste, water, 3-D printed meat to creative crop growth strategies. It will be interesting to see which approaches gain momentum over the next few years and provide sustainable and affordable food for large populatio ...more
Matt Lieberman
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
When most of us in the wealthier pockets of the world think about the negative consequences of global warming, we often fixate on rising sea levels, massive storms, droughts, and other catastrophic weather events that can destroy homes and wipe out populations. These concerns are completely warranted, but as Amanda Little illustrates in her insightful new book The Fate of Food, our warming and crowding planet will also pose some large problems to the global food supply across all regions and inc ...more
Mar 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first I didn't like the book very much. The narrative is down through descriptive stories and not focusing on technical facts. But later I start enjoying it very much.
Book gives light insight into number of different technologies and approaches how people and companies are tackling their or world's problems with food production and distribution.
It gives me hope for a near future that I will have enough to eat.
Jun 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Unless you've been living under a rock (willfully or otherwise), you know that we're in big trouble in regards to climate change, global population, and the unsustainable food system we currently use. One of the reasons I like to read post-apocalyptic fiction is because I want to see what the world might look like in the future, how humans might survive. But no one actually knows what the future will be like until we get there.

Are we better off looking for new ways to feed our ever-growing glob
Patrick Pilz
May 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer: I got this book from the publisher via a goodreads giveway....

...and it is the first of those that received a 5-star rating. I read, as a food engineer, pretty much anything related to food. Most books are polarizing, one-sided to drive a very controversial opinion home - not this one.

This book it written like a travel journal. On her journey, Amanda encounters challenges in the food supply chain (drought, food waste, basically 1 for each of the 13 chapters) and looks at how we try t
John Weiler
Oct 19, 2019 rated it did not like it
Total Disappointment

A “fascinating look at the race to secure the global food supply.” HA! This is a random collection of anecdotes ... a jumbled mishmash of shallow articles. Very different from being woven together as claimed.

The stories do deal with food or proto-food. To call them fascinating is laughable. The tales are overly simplistic. The author spends more time describing the people she met, their looks and personality, than she does on any real science.

Almost all of the disconnected a
Andrew Carr
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In The Road to Wigan Pier, George Orwell wrote that "A human being is primarily a bag for putting food into...I think it could plausibly be argued that changes of diet are more important than changes of dynasty or even of religion...yet it is curious how seldom the all-importance of food is recognised". In the Fate of Food, we see how the way human's create food changing largely for the better, albeit not nearly as fast as our planet needs it to.

There are two ways to read this excellent journal
Wallis Chan
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An enlightening read.
Oct 03, 2019 rated it did not like it
You can get the same information by watching the news or simply by surfing the web. Nothing really interesting in the book.
Jun 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Overall a very illuminating read. I quickly realized 1) how little I actually know about food production in my own county and 2) the things I worry about in food production are not actually the things I should be worried about (e.g., GMOs vs. salmon farming practices). Little covers much ground and I greatly appreciated her honesty in her struggle to part ways with meat, despite being fully aware of the harms of excessive meat-consumption. A nice dive into a subject I previously knew little-to-n ...more
Jeffrey Chassen
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I found this book to be incredibly eye-opening, even alarming at times. The diversity of what Little covers is incredibly impressive, and more importantly the depth in which she dives into each topic is exhilarating. Sometimes Climate Change can feel abstract and out of reach. This book brings the topic right to your doorstep, and I hope that it opens more eyes to how our world is going to change, and what we can do to remedy that where possible, and prepare ourselves where not.
Jenna M
Oct 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
a breezy read and a good mix of existential horror and get my heart out of my throat solutions
Oct 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: business, future, health
Who's not interested in the future of food? I liked the various technological innovations being pursued, but not sure the author ever really committed to expressing on overall view. Will it be enough? Can we keep going at current population levels? An example of the genre where the author has to insert themselves as a character, instead of just researching and reporting - but maybe that reflects what most modern readers want. ...more
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book and the examples of how alternative food production is being pursued globally; especially with advances in technology.

Disappointing that as with many of these type of books, no one wants to mention the pressure of supply vs demand being eased from the demand side; principally population control measures.

Aug 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
“A tour of the future.”
— blurb, Elizabeth Kolbert, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

Although the introduction and first chapter got off to a slow start, the book gained heft from there, discussing our food supply, food security and sustainable agriculture.

Amanda Little wanted to understand the effects of population growth and climate change on agriculture. She raises many issues and takes us on tours of modern agriculture.

Collapse of the food system ranks as the single biggest threa
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
(I started reading the book but could not finish before the library due date; I will be picking up this excellent book again). My notes:

Introduction: the industrialized world in general is enjoying a more abundant, diverse and accessible food supply than any time in history but many people are buying into the survival food trend. There are growing fears of political and environmental instability in our lifetimes. Post-food companies such as soylent are betting on disruptions. This book explores
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Amanda Little is a professor of journalism and Writer-in-Residence at Vanderbilt University. Her reporting on energy, technology and the environment has taken her to ultra-deep oil rigs, down manholes, and inside monsoon clouds. Amanda's work has appeared in the New York Times, Wired, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair and elsewhere. She writes, bikes, and is learning to cook and tango in Nashville, TN, w ...more

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  As dedicated readers already know, some of the best and most innovative stories on the shelves come from the constantly evolving realm of...
46 likes · 10 comments
“Most of us generate more planet-warming emissions from eating than we do from driving or flying. Food production now accounts for about a fifth of total greenhouse gas emissions annually, which means that agriculture contributes more than any other sector, including energy and transportation, to climate change.” 2 likes
“Currently, U.S. soils are degrading ten times faster than they can be replenished. Tilling also dries out soil—it was a key factor causing the Dust Bowl crisis in the 1930s—and disturbs the microbiome.” 1 likes
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