I’m often asked for book recommendations on food issues. I haven’t yet found a single book that encapsulates all the important issues surrounding the right to food, food security, and global hunger. Nevertheless, here of some of my favorites, mostly geared towards mainstream readers rather than academics. My recommendations do not equate with full endorsements: while I’ve found everything listed below both informative and interesting, some also include small arguments or analyses with which I don’t fully agree.
Looking for an overview of problems with our food system?
- Accounting for Hunger: The Right to Food in the Era of Globalisation, edited by Olivier De Schutter & Kaitlin Cordes. (Full disclosure: that’s me.) This book is not a comprehensive overview of the right to food, but rather a collection of essays examining issues that have an impact on the right to food, such as biofuels, global trade, and food aid.
- Enough: Why the World’s Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty, by Roger Thurow & Scott Kilman. Written by two journalists with experience covering hunger and agricultural issues, this book provides a good overview of and interesting anecdotes on hunger and its impacts — and shows how hunger is not attributable to a global lack of food.
- Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System, by Raj Patel. This book is a great introduction to our perverse and dysfunctional global food system, exploring the factors that have led to a world in which as many people are overweight as are starving.
Curious about food issues in the US? Check out these informative bestsellers:
- Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safran Foer. This isn’t the first book on industrial animal farming, but this recent addition is a smart and easy-to-read indictment of our deeply flawed American system.
- Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, by Eric Schlosser. A decade later, this book is still relevant. His fascinating investigation includes a disturbing and important look at labor conditions in slaughterhouses.
- The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, by Michael Pollan. This well-researched and beautifully written book explores industrial and alternative food supply chains in the US.