Fifty years later, ‘Diet for a Small Planet’ remains as urgent as ever. | 0106

Susan S. Johnson





Feeding the Need

Diet for a Small Planet, first published in 1971, has sold more than 2 million copies. The 20th-anniversary edition (right) was updated from the original (left) and included hundreds of recipes. The newest edition (center), published in 2021 for the 50th anniversary, also includes 85 plant-based recipes – including a few originals and a few new ones from renowned contemporary chefs.


WHEN BALLANTINE BOOKS PUBLISHED FRANCES MOORE LAPPÉ’S DIET FOR A SMALL PLANET IN 1971, the book attracted very little mainstream press. And why would it? The 26-year-old Lappé was a first-time author and community organizer who had just

Read More

How small changes to our diet can benefit the planet

Susan S. Johnson

The food we eat every day keeps us alive, but it can also incur big health and environmental costs—heart disease, carbon emissions, soil degradation, and more. A recent study published in Nature Food finds that small shifts in the food choices Americans make could have outsized benefits to both health and planet.

Because many foods with a high health burden, including processed meats or red meats, also have high environmental costs, switching out just a few of them—about 10 percent of a person’s daily caloric intake—can cut a person’s food-based environmental footprint by over 30 percent, the study says.

“The

Read More

‘Diet for a Small Planet’ helped spark a food revolution; 50 years later, it’s evolving

Susan S. Johnson

A thin, dog-eared paperback graced our kitchen’s bookshelf from the time I was just about old enough to see above the counter. To my child’s eyes, its title, “Diet for a Small Planet,” seemed welcoming: I was a small person, so what could be bad about a small planet?

Author Frances Moore Lappé wears an orange zip-up sweater and red glasses, smiling at the camera.

Frances Moore Lappé’s first book, “Diet for a Small Planet,” was published in 1971, based on her research on the merits of a plant-centered diet, with non-meat proteins.

(Michael Piazza)

Indeed, author Frances Moore Lappé is the first to say that her book, and the 50 years of work focused on

Read More

‘Diet for a Small Planet’ helped spark a food revolution. It’s evolving 50 years later.

Susan S. Johnson

‘Diet for a Small Planet’ helped spark a food revolution that is still evolving. Photo by Scott Suchman for The Washington Post

A thin, dog-eared paperback graced our kitchen’s bookshelf from the time I was just about old enough to see above the counter. To my child’s eyes, its title, “Diet for a Small Planet,” seemed welcoming: I was a small person, so what could be bad about a small planet?

Indeed, author Frances Moore Lappé is the first to say that her book, and the 50 years of work focused on the intersection of food and democracy that has

Read More