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The Fate of Food

Amanda Little

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?


The Bottom Line

Feeding 9 billion people sustainably in the coming decades will require innovation and ingenuity — and drawing on lessons from the past.

I. Introduction

Amanda Little, an award-winning environmental journalist and professor of science writing at Vanderbilt University, spent three years traveling across the U.S. and a dozen other countries — to examine the threat climate change poses to the world’s food supply. She looked not just at the problem but also novel solutions that might secure a future in which we can sustainably feed humanity while preserving the environment.

The result is a book built around first-hand interviews with food scientists, agriculturalists, climate change experts, farmers, activists, engineers and others. We learn that the industrial food system is at once a primary contributor to climate change and the industry most vulnerable to extreme weather events. Which means that a majority of people will suffer the effects of global warming through the food they eat, or don’t eat, and not through wildfires, floods or catastrophic storms.

Clearly the challenges are vast and solutions must be nuanced, but Little concludes her investigation with cautious optimism. In the end, she believes human ingenuity, determination and cooperation can be the drivers for a climate-resilient food system capable of feeding a growing population in our increasingly unstable world.

II. When a Growing Population Collides With a Dwindling Food Supply

III. The Big Divide

IV. A Merger of Old and New

V. Robot Farmers?

VI. The Alternate Meat Menu

VII. There’s No Single Answer

The Takeaway


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