Regenesis by George Monbiot [10/10]

George Monbiot, graceful and forceful whenever he wields his pen, has topped his career with “Regenesis: Feeding the World without Devouring the Planet.” This is the first in-depth, properly analytical examination of humanity’s food systems that I have encountered. The intricacies of farming are lucidly explained: new soil ecology insights; the blight of farming sprawl upon Earth and biodiversity; the particular scourge of animal farming; the global “standard farm” servicing the pernicious global standard diet; the global concentration of private ownership of the food chain; and the rickety nature of our food system). Monbiot maintains perfect control of his material, zooming in as close as his local community orchard and then panning out to do the maths for our eight billion people. To me, the first half confirmed what I had roughly gleaned about the fraught issues facing us, but then comes the most interesting lengthy climax, as Monbiot examines proffered solutions: “green manure” farming, no-till farming, new perennial grain crops, and the most intriguing possibility, precision fermentation. After scaring the bejesus out of the reader, Regenesis ends on an upbeat note, even including a manifesto for change. A tour de force, this book is essential reading for the 2020s.

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