Diet for a Small Planet — 50 Years Later

by Anna Lappé


Fifty years ago, while experts published scary tomes about imminent world famine, my mother was a 26-year-old researcher curious about exactly why there was so much hunger around the globe. She buried herself in the stacks at the Giannini Library on UC Berkeley’s campus. What she discovered was so shocking, she felt she had to share the news with the world: There was actually enough food (there is still today). We humans were actually creating scarcity through then-just-emergent grain-fed, industrial livestock production systems. 

She turned her insight into a pamphlet, which became a longer essay, which became the book, Diet for a Small Planet.   

Last year, as Covid-19 kept our family thousands of miles from each other, I set out to help my mom celebrate the 50th anniversary of this seminal book with a new, special edition.  

This edition includes a new opening chapter by my mom—trying to distill her life’s work into just 15,000 words! And, with the expert hand of the wonderful and talented recipe developer, Wendy Lopez—and loads of Zoom calls and dirty dishes—we also refreshed the recipe section. No more soy grits and margarine! The 85+ recipes include more than a dozen from some of our very favorite cookbook authors and chefs, including several beloved Real Food Reads authors!  

You can pre-order your book today at and please join us with friends and family for one or both of our book launches