The United States is one of the wealthiest developed countries, but, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 12.3 percent, or 15.6 million, U.S. households were food insecure at some time during 2016. That means about 41.2 million people live in a household where they’re not sure if or when they’ll have a next meal.
This is a problem on a local and global scale. And a growing population combined with a changing climate could mean big trouble for the future. If everyone in developed countries doesn’t have access to regular meals now, what will happen when we’re unable to grow and produce the same amounts of food? It’s a complex issue that often involves politics.
These books offer some perspective from different angles. Learn about poverty in America, food production, and how politics are linked to preventing hunger.
$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America
The gap between rich and poor is growing in America. Author Kathryn Edin knows this from decades of research on the topic. In "$2.00 a Day," she points out that now 1.5 million households are trying to get by on this shockingly low amount. The book includes updated research and stories from people who are struggling to put food on their table.
Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity
A changing climate and growing human population could spell disaster for the future if there’s no plan in place. "Full Planet, Empty Plates" explores how shrinking natural resources for growing food could lead to global conflict. Author Lester Brown calls food the new oil. He uses years of research on agricultural issues to explain what the future of food politics may hold.
Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System
We live in a world that’s battling both obesity and hunger. Raj Patel, author of "Stuff and Starved," traveled around the world to get some insight on why. He shares his shocking discoveries, from finding out about an epidemic of farmer suicides to the politics behind the global food economy.
The Unending Hunger: Tracing Women and Food Insecurity Across Borders
Food insecurity seems to follow women across borders, and it has a profound effect on their lives. "The Unending Hunger" explains how and why migrating from Mexico and Central America to the United States didn’t improve their situation. It also discusses food policy in the United States.
The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water
Most of us turn on the tap and take for granted that clean water will come out. "The Big Thirst" argues that our water supply as we know it is getting scarce, and to avoid a water crisis we must learn different ways to use and recycle it. Author Charles Fishman explores human history with water use and lays out plans for the future.
The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
You might not think asking, “What should we have for dinner?” could be a loaded question. But how we eat is tied to our own health and the health of the environment. "The Omnivore’s Dilemma" explains how food choices can have a direct effect on our survival as a human species. The book promises to challenge the way you think about food and its politics.
Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply
Globalization and corporate agriculture have had a big impact on local farmers and the world’s food supply. In "Stolen Harvest," environmentalist Vandana Shiva looks at what genetic engineering and other corporate practices have done to the food we eat and the people who grow it. She touches on everything from land crops to shrimp farming.
World Hunger: 10 Myths
When it comes to food insecurity and hunger, there are lots of myths and assumptions. In "World Hunger: 10 Myths," authors Frances Moore Lappé and Joseph Collins address 10 common myths through facts and research. Based on their research, they also offer solutions for more sustainable agriculture that can feed people worldwide.
Where Am I Eating? An Adventure Through the Global Food Economy with Discussion Questions and a Guide to Going “Glocal”
Food in American grocery stores and restaurants comes from around the world. "Where Am I Eating?" is a book to help consumers understand where food comes from and how what you eat can affect lives of workers in another country. Get an inside look at the global food economy, including personal stories from the workers and modern-day slaves that provide our food.
40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World
Billionaire businessman and philanthropist Warren Buffet gave his son, Howard, a challenge: accomplish something great in the world with $3 billion. He chose food insecurity as his cause. "40 Chances" is the story of Howard’s journey to learn about food and the people who lack it. The book follows him around the world as he tries to come up with solutions to end hunger.