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

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  572 ratings  ·  121 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
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
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, ...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?
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 ...more
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 ...more
Lindsay Shields
Aug 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: science
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
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 ...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. Nothing is black or white and that should not be the case for this book either - because the food sector itself is not black and white.
I have underlined so many quotes
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
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 ...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 ...more
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
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
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
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
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.
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Boys and Sex
A must read for moms of boys! A frank, comprehensive, and thoroughly contemporary examination of the sexuality and gender issues boys face while growing up, including defining their masculinity and ‘fitting in with the boys’, understanding their bodies, learning about consent, exploring romantic relationships, etc.

Informative and data driven without being overly academic; conversational, humorous-when-appropriate voice, infused with passion for the subject and empathy for her
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.
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
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
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
Marathon County Public Library
In today’s world, more and more people want to know about the food they eat, where it comes from, and how it’s grown. But what does the future hold for consumers – and the food on their plates – in a world that’s getting increasingly hotter, drier and that has more extreme weather?

In "The Fate of Food," author Amanda Little explores the different techniques and technologies that scientists, experts, and inventors around the world are developing to help prepare for a future that may include more
K. Lincoln
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Little takes us on a tour of current farmers, technicians, and agricultural specialists trying to deal with the food issues revolving around changing populations, climate change, and globalization.

And she does so with the lens that current food cultures force a "false choice" between permaculture and industrialized agriculture.

From A Kenyan farmer who welcomes GMO corn because its the difference between starvation and survival, to an American farmer who embraces both organic and tech ways to
Jun 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't decide between a 4 star or 5 star rating. The book was engrossing and well written so deserves 5 stars for that, and, for the most part, well researched. I agree with the reviewer, however, who said the book "chronicles a bunch of third-way solutions for problems which, in a more reasonable world than our own, would not be necessary, .... [but] since the human race is apparently incapable of doing this, third-way solutions may be the best of the bad remaining options." What pushed it ...more
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Food is a really contested and guilt-ridden space and abuts the climate debate a lot. With a growing population placing demands on existing resources, and global warming threatening those resources as well – how will we get enough food to eat?

Should we go vegan? Eat locally? Shun GM and herbicides? Experiment with new technologies? Go back to small, backyard subsistence farms?

The Fate of Food argues we should be doing all of it. It’s not about one or the other being the better solution, it’s
Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
There's no question that Little knows her beat. The depth of reporting and the duration of the time she's spent with the contemporary questions of sustainable agriculture - agribusiness to agroecology - are considerable, and her interviews with the people who are shaping the world industry are fascinating. That's all to the good, and it's very, very good.

At the same time there's a lot of wish-washy sentiment mixed into this, with Little refusing to come down in either the camp of technological
Cynthia D
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
*** This ARC was received through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ***

One of my big curiosities in life has been around, literally, the future of food in a landscape where climate change has affected our environment. I was pleasantly surprised when the author actually delivers on the premise, and with so much detail! I really enjoyed the back and forth on different technologies being utilized and developed, and the willingness to include negative aspects of our food system and
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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, ...more
“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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