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In the 1970’s and 80’s, world hunger and famine were common images in the evening news. Many predicted that diminishing food supply, and growing populations would inevitably lead to a “doomsday scenario.” Lappe, however, argued for a solution to this scenario, pointing out that there were “more than enough calories being produced around the world.” The problem was that all these calories weren’t being used to feed people, but also to feed to many animals raised for human consumption. Lappe’s message in Diet for a Small Planet, was that the problem is not one of abundance, but rather, the economic and political structures which determine whether this production is actually meeting the needs of human beings.
During a time when putting meat on the table was seen as a form of economic security and prosperity, proposing a diet composed primarily of beans, rice, and vegetables as a solution was a far more radical idea than it is today. Lappe called it “radical, shocking, and hearsey” during the time, especially given her upbringing in Fort Worth, Texas. Today, Lappe’s daughter Anna speaks about the progress that has been made in this movement, and feels “encouraged.” She says, “if you haven’t seen the results of your work, you simply haven’t asked a big enough question.”
To learn more about Anna’s work and current projects visit: