Regenesis: Feeding the World Without Devouring the Planet

Penguin Pr. Aug. 2022. 352p. ISBN 9780143135968. pap. $18. AGRI
Environmental campaigner and Guardian columnist Monbiot (Feral: Rewilding the Land, the Sea, and Human Life) brews up an intriguing solution to our troubled global food system, which he argues is complex and vulnerable to outside threats like climate change and rising demand. Agricultural sprawl is another concern—i.e., livestock operations that pollute waterways, damage natural habitats, and consume vast amounts of land. Monbiot has impressive evidence to support his “more food, less farming” message, and his articulate outrage at agriculturally caused ecological degradation is bracing. His book also reports from the field, visiting farmers and a food bank administrator to discover innovative farm practices and to learn how the food system impacts people in need. Particularly pivotal is his trip to a Finnish firm that produces protein using microbes grown in a fermenter, which Monbiot believes is a technological breakthrough—a food source not driven by photosynthesis—that promises a necessary end to most agriculture. This breakthrough could provide cheaper, healthier protein than that which is animal-derived and, at the same time, draw down carbon by releasing land for rewilding.
VERDICT Provocateur Monbiot’s “new restoration story about food” is sure to generate interest, both approving and dismissive.
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