It’s nearly 40 years since Francis Moore Lappé’s Diet for a Small Planet was published, linking what we eat and what we do to the planet. As countries race to embrace net zero targets, the role of farming and farmers, and the way we manage the landscape more generally, is under scrutiny. Is a healthy diet for humans the same as a healthy diet for a zero-carbon future? Should we be paying farmers for ‘public goods’, such as soil restoration, wildlife conservation and carbon sequestration? How might that transform the landscapes of the future – in Britain, Europe and elsewhere? And what does that mean for the hundreds of millions of small farmers in countries like India – site of some impassioned protests in recent months?
Cassandra Coburn is author of Enough: How Your Food Choices will Save the Planet; Sarah Bridle's book is Food and Climate Without the Hot Air. Martin Wright, former editor of Green Futures, is an environment journalist and photographer.