What we are reading on food systems

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What we are reading on food systems

A food system includes all the aspects of feeding and nourishing people: growing, harvesting, packaging, processing, transporting, marketing and consuming food. It encompasses all the interactions between people and the natural world – land, water, the climate, etc. – and the natural world’s effects on human health and nutrition.

As we approach the UN Food Systems Summit here are some suggested reads on transforming our food systems for people, and planet.

Food wars: The global battle for mouths minds and markets - Tim Lang and Michael Heasman
In the years since publication of the first edition of Food Wars much has happened in the world of food policy. This new edition brings these developments fully up to date within the original analytical framework of competing paradigms or worldviews shaping the direction and decision-making within food politics and policy. The key theme of the importance of integrating human and environmental health has become even more pressing.

Global Food Policy Report – transformaing food systems after Covid-19 - IFPRI
This year’s Global Food Policy Report examines what IFPRI has learned about the deficiencies in current food systems, the changes that are needed for system transformation, and what COVID-19 has taught us. It offers lessons that can help put the world on the path to food system transformation for greater resilience, inclusion, efficiency, sustainability, and nutrition.

Agroecology now! Transformations towards more just and sustainable food systems - Colin Ray Anderson, Janneke Bruil, M. Jahi Chappell, Csilla Kiss and Michel Patrick Pimbert
This book develops a framework for advancing agroecology transformations focusing on power, politics and governance. It explores the potential of agroecology as a sustainable and socially just alternative to today’s dominant food regime. The authors analyse the conditions that enable and disable agroecology’s potential and present six ‘domains of transformation’ where it comes into conflict with the dominant food system

Moo's Law: An investor’s guide to the New Agrarian Revolution. Jim Mellon
Moo’s Law is the latest title from investor Jim Mellon, to help readers understand the investment landscape in cultivated and plant-based proteins and materials. Jim has a vision that within the next couple of decades world agriculture will be radically transformed by the advent of cultivated meat technology.

Biodiversity, food and nutrition: A new agenda for sustainable food systems. Edited by Danny Hunter, Teresa Borelli and Eliot Gee
This book examines the challenges and impacts of poor diets and nutrition from current food systems and the potential contribution of biodiversity and ecosystem services in addressing these problems. This book will be of great interest to policymakers, practitioners and NGOs working on food and nutrition, as well as students and scholars of agriculture, food systems and sustainable development.

Dancing with bees: A journey back to nature - Brigit Strawbridge Howard
Dancing with Bees is Strawbridge Howard’s charming and eloquent account of a return to noticing, to rediscovering a perspective on the world that had somehow been lost to her for decades and to reconnecting with the natural world. She pays attention to the plight of pollinators, including honeybees, bumblebees, and solitary bees, and what we can do to help them.

Food and sustainability in the twenty-first century: Cross-disciplinary perspectives. Edited by Paul Collinson, Iain Young, Lucy Antal, and Helen Macbeth
Sustainability is one of the great problems facing food production today. Using cross-disciplinary perspectives from international scholars working in social, cultural and biological anthropology, ecology and environmental biology, this volume brings many new perspectives to the problems we face.

No one is too small to make a difference - Greta Thunberg
No One Is Too Small to Make A Difference brings us Greta in her own words alongside moving images from her game-changing protests. Collecting her speeches that have made history across the globe, from the United Nations to mass street protests, her book is a rallying cry for why we must all wake up and fight to protect the living planet, no matter how powerless we feel.

The Quinoa Chronicles: A Memoir - Stephen Gorad
Once a totally disrespected food, known only by poor indigenous peoples in the Andean mountain regions of South America, quinoa is now appreciated, eaten, and also grown throughout the world. How did quinoa go from complete obscurity to being a worldwide sensation?

Making better policies for food systems - OECD
This report focuses on three questions. What has been the performance of food systems to date, and what role did policies play? How can policy makers design coherent policies across the triple challenge? And how can policy makers deal with frictions related to facts, interests, and values, which often complicate the task of achieving better policies?

Be my guest: Reflections on food, community and the meaning of generosity - Priya Basil
A thought-provoking meditation on food, family, identity, immigration, and, most of all, hospitality - at the table and beyond - that's part food memoir, part appeal for more authentic decency in our daily worlds, and in the world at large. Lively, wide-ranging, and impassioned, Be My Guest is a deeply felt plea for a kinder, more welcoming world and a reminder that we all have more in common than we imagine.

Incentivizing Food Systems Transformation – World Economic Forum
To meet the aspiration of establishing inclusive, efficient, sustainable, nutritious and healthy food systems capable of achieving the SDGs, a comprehensive transformation is required. Many hurdles, including financial, cultural, and mindset challenges, are preventing stakeholders from making these required changes. To spur these shifts on a large scale requires realigning and creating the right incentives for stakeholders in the food system.

Enabling sustainable food systems – Innovation handbook – FAO/INRAE
This handbook is written for “sustainable food systems innovators” by a group of innovators from Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe who are leading initiatives to grow, share, sell and consume more sustainable foods in their local contexts. It includes experiences that are changing the organizational structures of local food systems to make them more sustainable.

Innovation and development in agricultural and food systems - Quae
This book casts a look at innovation in agricultural and food systems. The book is based on reflections and research originating from various scientific disciplines, on fieldwork carried out both in France and in many countries of the Global South, and finally on the experiences gained by accompanying and supporting innovative actors.

Folks, this ain't normal: A farmer's advice for happier hens, healthier people, and a better world - Joel Salatin
In this book Joel Salatin discusses how far removed we are from the simple, sustainable joy that comes from living close to the land and the people we love. Salatin has many thoughts on what normal is and shares practical and philosophical ideas for changing our lives in small ways that have big impact.

Find out more about IFAD and food systems