The new 50th anniversary edition of Diet for a Small Planet argues that the need for change in the food system has never been greater.
First published in 1971, Frances Moore Lappé’s Diet for a Small Planet details the impact of diet on the environment, promoting a vegetarian lifestyle to help support the health of the planet.
The latest edition of the book features a new introductory chapter on the importance of lifestyle changes as well as new and updated planet-friendly recipes. It also expands on the idea that eaters can use their diet as an agent of social change.
In the last 50 years Lappé believes that the need for change has only become more urgent. Climate change, she says, is already directly affecting communities. “This should be the ultimate wakeup call,” Lappé tells Food Tank.
Diet for a Small Planet identifies the effects of human activity on the planet, including the loss of plant and animal species that “threatens life itself.”
But Lappé also believes that her book can inspire hope, and argues that the food system will have an essential role to play in addressing the climate crisis. “We can’t get to any Paris Agreement targets unless we transform our food system,” she tells Food Tank.
Lappé explains that she is excited by the proliferation of community supported agriculture (CSAs) and community gardens in the United States. She also finds the increase in vegetarian options in restaurants and supermarkets promising.
And looking to other parts of the world, particularly the Global South, Lappé draws inspiration from communities utilizing agroecological farming methods. “That’s what keeps me going,” Lappé says.
Lappé also touches on the importance of combining courage with community. “Courage is the key to this [change]. But it’s very hard to do things alone that are courageous,” Lappé tells Food Tank. “So find the one, or two, or three, or a crowd of people…and together take action, because I do think that courage is contagious.”
Watch the full conversation with Frances Moore Lappé below:
Photo courtesy of Chantal Garnier, Unsplash