From Publishers Weekly
Lappé, daughter of green food writer Frances Moore Lappé, evokes her mother's 1971 classic, Diet for a Small Planet, to critique industrial farming and its carbon costs and give her own updated, upbeat prescription for a climate-friendly food system. Chock-full of statistics, how-to lists, and stories from her wide-ranging investigative travels, Lappé's book proposes a farming method that is nature mentored, restorative, regenerative, resilient, and community empowered; and a diet to reduce carbon and cool the planet. Put plants on your plate, she advises; go organic, avoid packaging, eating out, and wasting food. Much of this will sound familiar to Michael Pollan's readers, and unfortunately, Lappé pales by comparison. Her stories tend to be shallow, unfinished, and sometimes marginally relevant, and her prose is sloppy. And although the book's message may have been ripe when Lappé began her research, extensive media coverage on the subject since may have put this book past its freshness date. (Apr.)
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*Starred Review* Frances Moore Lappé’s Diet for a Small Planet (1971) launched an essential inquiry into the connections among food, justice, and ecology. She teamed up with her daughter, Anna, in another incisive overview, Hope’s Edge (2002), and now Anna addresses the major role industrial agriculture plays in today’s climate crisis. Responsibly researched and cogently articulated, Lappé’s far-reaching investigation entails questioning scientists; attending UN, governmental, corporate, and grassroots agriculture conferences; plowing through daunting reports and studies, and, most pleasurably, visiting organic farms around the world. She gathers facts proving that global industrial agriculture—specifically the use of hazardous chemicals, concentrated animal feeding operations, biotech crops, and processed foods—is impoverishing the land, destroying rain forests, polluting waterways, and emitting nearly a third of the greenhouse gases that are heating the planet. In contrast, well-designed organic-farming techniques reduce carbon emissions and toxic waste while nurturing soil and biodiversity. Convinced that eating wisely is one way to influence the marketplace and, ultimately, help combat world hunger and climate change, Lappé decodes food labeling, dissects Big Ag’s “greenwashing” tactics, and offers “seven principles of a climate-friendly diet” in an impeccable, informative, and inspiring contribution to the quest for environmental reform. --Donna Seaman
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