Originally posted on 05 Aug 2023

1 minute read

Millions around the world face starvation and malnutrition every day, despite the abundance of food produced by our food systems. In light of this, the fundamental point of the authors is obvious if you actually stop to think about it: those food systems aren’t broken; they’re operating exactly as designed, maximising profit for a few over human wellness for all.

A portion of the book demonstrates this point, while setting up the scaffolding for the authors’ recommendations for starting to address the problem. The key, they say, is to start to shift those systems from massive extractive processes to small cosmolocal initiatives that respect the complex web of relationships between humans and environments. The remainder of the book discusses this solution, including some examples of it already put to use.

I’m totally here for a good “down with neoliberalist, late-stage, exploitive capitalism” work. This book delivers that and does a good job of shining a light on the overall problem space. It falls a bit short on the next step: demonstrating how to start fixing things. While inspirational, it lacks practical recommendations. The authors acknowledge this, but it still feels like a missed opportunity. The very nature of relationships means each one will differ from all the others, but it’s still possible to provide general and pragmatic advice to reduce the barrier to entry for those for whom this systemic crisis is news and who wish to help. It also would’ve been good had more of the emergent examples listed in chapter five had been drawn from experiences beyond those of the authors themselves. Their efforts are commendable, but showing more instances of unrelated initiatives would have been more heartening to a skeptical audience member.

Overall though, and acknowledging that this work is very much preaching to the choir in my case, I appreciated the book. As I said above, it’s inspirational. It’s also unflaggingly optimistic despite the serious nature of the problem addressed. Many people would benefit from reading it, but as is often the case with things like this, the ones who would benefit most are those least likely to pick it up.