20 must-read books about food systems

20 must-read books about food systems
Danielle Nierenberg
Fri, 07/10/2020 - 00:50

With record high unemployment , a reeling global economy and concerns of food shortages , the world as we know it is changing. But even as these shifts expose inequities in the health and food systems, many experts hope that the current moment offers an opportunity to build a new, more sustainable food system.

To understand what it will take to move forward, Food Tank has compiled its summer reading list to delve into the issues that affect our food system today. These 20 books provide insight into food access and justice in Black communities, food relief and school nutrition programs, the effects of technology on global food supply chains, the relationship between climate change and food production, and much more.

1. " Be My Guest: Reflections on Food, Community, and the Meaning of Generosity " by Priya Basil (forthcoming November)

Priya Basil explores the meaning of hospitality within a variety of cultural, linguistic and sociopolitical contexts in this short read. Basil uses her cross-cultural experience to illustrate how food amplifies discourse within families and touches on the hospitality and the lack thereof that migrants and refugees experience. "Be My Guest" is at once an enjoyable read and a hopeful meditation on how food and hospitality can make a positive difference in our world.

2. " Biodiversity, Food and Nutrition: A New Agenda for Sustainable Food Systems " by Danny Hunter, Teresa Borelli and Eliot Gee

Leading professionals from Bioversity International examine the positive impacts of biodiversity on nutrition and sustainability. The book highlights agrobiodiversity initiatives in Brazil, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Turkey, featuring research from the Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition Project (BFN) of the  Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT . Through this analysis, the authors propose that the localized activities in these countries not only are benefiting communities, but also are transferable to other regions.

3. " Black Food Geographies: Race, Self-Reliance, and Food Access in Washington, D.C ." by Ashanté M. Reese

Ashanté Reese draws on her fieldwork to highlight community agency in response to unequal food access. Focusing on a majority-Black neighborhood in Washington, D.C., Reese explores issues of racism, gentrification and urban food access. Through her analysis, she argues that racism affects and exacerbates issues of unequal food distribution systems.

4. " Black Food Matters: Racial Justice in the Wake of Food Justice " edited by Hanna Garth and Ashanté M. Reese (forthcoming October)

Access, equity, justice and privilege are the central themes in this forthcoming collection of essays. The food justice movement often ignores the voices of Black communities and white food norms shape the...