Nicoletta Batini

Jul 13, 2021

The Economics of Sustainable Food

Smart Policies for Health and the Planet

Island Press 2021

In The Economics of Sustainable Food: Smart Policies for Health and the Planet (Island Press, 2021), Dr. Nicoletta Batini, and co-authors, unpack the true cost of food production. While the Green Revolution served a purpose, Dr. Batini makes the case that the industrial food complex continues to cause tremendous global economic losses in terms of malnutrition, diseases, and environmental degradation. To ensure we do not exceed the 1.5oC target, the book offers the Great Food Transformation (GFT) as a solution. The GFT entails, (1) halving animal-based food production and increasing plant-based production, (2) shifting to organic, regenerative farming, and (3) rewilding, reforesting, and afforesting land. In this interview, Dr. Batini discusses the economics and policy mechanisms to make the GFT possible. Some of the mechanisms discussed include taxes, labor market reform, alongside regulation in cases where market incentives are unlikely to work or to work fast enough. We discuss the important differences in the GFT between “advanced economies” and “less-advanced economies,” with case studies that highlight successes in both.

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