Can Fixing Dinner Fix the Planet? Jess Fanzo thinks it can, but it won’t be easy

Portrait photo of Jess Fanzo

Cover of book Can Fixing Dinner Fix the Planet?

Food systems have been in the news lately, not least because the United Nations will be convening a food systems summit some time in September or October. The lead-up to the summit has drawn a lot of attention to the notion of food systems, which roughly means everything about food, from how it is produced to how we eat it.

If you’re looking for a guide through the tangled thickets of global food systems, you can do no better than Jess Fanzo’s book Can Fixing Dinner Fix the Planet?

Jess Fanzo started her academic life as what she calls “a lab rat,” studying nutrition at the molecular level. She didn’t stay there. Moving further and further away from the laboratory, she went into the field, studying public health, diets and nutrition in many different countries. Not surprisingly, her experiences made her more and more interested in food systems. She’s now a globally-recognized thinker on food systems. Her book illuminates her thoughts on the big picture with her experiences in the field, and is a terrific introduction to the food system, what’s wrong with it, and how putting it right will require everyone, everywhere, to get stuck in and do the work.


  1. Can Fixing Dinner Fix the Planet? is available for pre-order from Johns Hopkins University Press.
  2. I refuse to get into the pros and cons of the UN Food Systems Summit 2021. It’ll go on whatever happens, it’ll cost a lot of money, and I have no idea whether it will result in any changes. But, as Jess Fanzo said, it is about time.
  3. The transcript is here.

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