Never Out of Season: How Having the Food We Want When We Want It Threatens Our Food Supply and Our Future

Modern food-growing techniques have transformed the global diet: instead of eating hundreds of different foods, like our hunter-gatherer ancestors, human beings are increasingly dependent on a small number of hardy crop varieties, grown on a massive scale. While this method of producing food has its benefits (including greater yields), it has raised the alarm among nutritionists and ecologists. Rob Dunn is the latter, and in his fourth book, Never Out of Season, he explores the pros and cons of crop monocultures and suggests a few strategies for diversifying the world's food supply before it's too late.

Dunn (The Man Who Touched His Own Heart) explores the complex relationship among people, their food and the planet, noting that "our hunger has shaped the earth in much the way that the hunger of a caterpillar remakes a leaf." He recounts the stories of vital crops such as coffee, cacao, wheat and cassava, as well as the Irish potato famine of the 1840s, to demonstrate the potential risks of monocultures. But he also highlights a few unsung heroes: farmers, biologists and other researchers who are studying pathogens, saving seeds and experimenting with new, disease-resistant varieties of vital foods in response to climate change and other factors.

While Dunn's narrative occasionally staggers under the weight of detail, his message is clear and timely: scientists, governments and consumers must work together to preserve and improve a diverse, resilient food supply in a rapidly changing world. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

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