The Fate of Food Book Summary - The Fate of Food Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

The Fate of Food summary

Amanda Little

What We’ll Eat in a Bigger, Hotter, Smarter World

4 (67 ratings)
20 mins

Brief summary

The Fate of Food by Amanda Little is an eye-opening read that explores the future of our global food system amidst climate change, population growth and other challenges. From artificial meat to vertical farms, Little investigates potential solutions to this complex issue.

Table of Contents

    The Fate of Food
    Summary of 6 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 6

    Modern farming techniques are a major contributor to our current ecological crisis.

    There’s no doubt about it, agriculture today is more productive than at any time in human history. Modern machinery, improved pesticides and even the seeds we use have dramatically increased the amount of food humanity can grow.

    Yet this improved productivity has come at a cost.

    The key message here is: Modern farming techniques are a major contributor to our current ecological crisis.

    Since humans first sowed seeds, every agricultural innovation has been the result of a common goal: producing larger, more reliable crops with less effort.

    Over the centuries, farming transformed from self-sufficiency – only growing enough to meet the immediate need – to a profit-driven industrial giant. This long history of innovation culminated in the Green Revolution in the years following World War II. New pesticides, irrigation techniques, and hybrid seeds combined to increase the global food supply 200 percent.

    The Green Revolution was long heralded as a milestone for humanity. But for all of its achievements, the Green Revolution had some unintended consequences.

    Excess fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides have caused damage to aquatic life, topsoil and useful, productive insects like bees. The insects that actually damage crops, meanwhile, have become resistant to existing pesticides. Farmers are forced to use ever-stronger chemicals to fight them off. Then there’s climate change. The carbon footprint of industrial agriculture is enormous. Food production accounts for a fifth of total greenhouse gas emissions annually, more than any other single contributor.

    But perhaps the Green Revolution’s greatest failure has been its inability to solve the problem of food distribution. Food is now produced on a massive scale. And yet, more than 800 million people are undernourished. Supply chains remain inefficient, and so approximately a third of the food produced around the world goes to waste.

    Because of the downsides to the Green Revolution, some sustainable food advocates argue we should dismantle the entire structure and go back to basics. They want us to reject chemicals and genetic modification in favor of simpler agrarian practices. While this may sound idyllic in theory, it isn’t entirely feasible. Technology has dramatically cut the costs associated with farming, resulting in considerably more affordable food. If we stopped using technology, we’d end up with more expensive food. And it’d be the poorest communities who’d lose out.

    The way forward requires a combination of efforts, with technology and tradition working together to feed a more crowded planet.

    Want to see all full key ideas from The Fate of Food?

    Key ideas in The Fate of Food

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is The Fate of Food about?

    The Fate of Food (2019) looks at a rapidly changing world and the question of how we’ll feed our ever-growing population. Is it possible to produce a clean, climate-resilient food supply that’s adequate to meet our needs? The Fate of Food examines the technological and sociological demands of feeding the world. 

    The Fate of Food Review

    The Fate of Food (2019) is an eye-opening exploration of the challenges and possibilities in feeding our growing global population. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Through in-depth research and interviews, it provides a comprehensive understanding of the complex issues surrounding food production and consumption.
    • Tackling topics such as climate change, technology, and sustainability, the book offers thought-provoking insights that inspire readers to consider their role in the future of food.
    • With its engaging storytelling and balanced perspectives, the book ensures that the subject matter, though weighty, remains accessible and captivating throughout.

    Who should read The Fate of Food?

    • People concerned with the effects of industrial agriculture on the environment
    • Food lovers fascinated by the farm-to-table journey
    • Science buffs wanting to keep up with the latest trends in agricultural science

    About the Author

    Amanda Little is an award-winning environmental journalist whose writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Wired, and Vanity Fair, among many others. She is a professor of investigative journalism and science writing at Vanderbilt University and the author of Power Trip: The Story of America’s Love Affair with Energy.

    Categories with The Fate of Food

    Book summaries like The Fate of Food

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked these summaries

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    31 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial

    The Fate of Food FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Fate of Food?

    The main message of The Fate of Food is that we need to find innovative and sustainable solutions to feed our growing population.

    How long does it take to read The Fate of Food?

    The reading time for The Fate of Food varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Fate of Food a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Fate of Food is worth reading because it sheds light on the challenges of feeding the world and offers insights into potential solutions.

    Who is the author of The Fate of Food?

    The author of The Fate of Food is Amanda Little.

    What to read after The Fate of Food?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Fate of Food, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Third Plate by Dan Barber
    • Practical Optimism by Sue Varma
    • Ultra-Processed People by Chris van Tulleken
    • How to Walk into a Room by Emily P. Freeman
    • A Passage to India by E. M. Forster
    • The Body by Bill Bryson
    • The End of Food Allergy by Kari Nadeau and Sloan Barnett
    • The Six Disciplines of Strategic Thinking by Michael D. Watkins
    • Moving Past Small Talk by The Blinkist Team
    • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman