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About the book
  • Published: 5 March 2020
  • ISBN: 9780701188719
  • Imprint: Chatto & Windus
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 384
  • RRP: $35.00


How Food Can Save the World

This visionary book about food – how it shapes our lives and our world – shows us the way to a good life and a better future

We live in a world shaped by food, a Sitopia (sitos – food; topos – place). Food, and how we search for and consume it, has defined our human journey.

From our foraging hunter-gatherer ancestors to the enormous appetites of modern cities, food has shaped our bodies and homes, our politics and trade, and our climate. Whether it’s the daily decision of what to eat, or the monopoly of industrial food production, food touches every part of our world. But by forgetting its value, we have drifted into a way of life that threatens our planet and ourselves.

Yet food remains central to addressing the predicaments and opportunities of our urban, digital age. Drawing on insights from philosophy, history, architecture, literature, politics and science, as well as stories of the farmers, designers and economists who are remaking our relationship with food, Sitopia is a provocative and exhilarating vision for change, and how to thrive on our crowded, overheating planet. In her inspiring and deeply thoughtful new book Carolyn Steel, points the way to a better future.

  • Pub date: 5 March 2020
  • ISBN: 9780701188719
  • Imprint: Chatto & Windus
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 384
  • RRP: $35.00

About the Author

Carolyn Steel

Carolyn Steel is a leading thinker on food and cities.Her first book Hungry City received international acclaim, establishing her as an influential voice in a wide variety of fields across academia, industry and the arts. It won the Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Award for Non-Fiction and was chosen as a BBC Food Programme book of the year. It has been translated into several languages and sold more than 25,000 copies worldwide, becoming a key text for architects, planners, green thinkers and food professionals.

Carolyn is a visiting lecturer in Architecture at Cambridge University, visiting Professor in Food and Urban Design at Lincoln University, and visiting Lecturer and Researcher in Rural Sociology at Wageningen University.

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Praise for Sitopia

“Following her award-winning Hungry City, Carolyn Steel serves us up a second helping of food for thought with Sitopia, which poses the really big questions about food that we should all be asking ourselves right now. Foodie or not, this philosophical call to arms is essential reading for those who want to save the world, one meal at a time”

Allegra McEvedy

“No writer asks more interesting questions about food than Carolyn Steel because no one takes more seriously the profound role of food at the heart of human life. Every time I read her or hear her speak, I can almost feel my mind expanding. This hugely ambitious and beautifully written book shows that the way we eat now is at odds with the way we ate for thousands of years. But so far from being pessimistic, Steel suggests that learning to value food again can also point the way to more fulfilling and sustainable ways of living. Sitopia is a book destined to become a modern classic”

Bee Wilson

“A vital call for us to rediscover the way that food binds us to each other and to the natural world, and in doing so find new ways of living”

Christopher Kissane, Guardian

“Essential reading! A visionary look at how quality food should replace money as the new world currency”

Tim Spector

“Steel offsets the obviously weighty subject matter with a lightness of touch and twinkling eye for luminous details… an unambiguously essential read”

George Reynolds, Daily Telegraph

“In this compelling and positively framed book, Steel the author of the influential Hungry City, draws on insights from philosophy, history, architecture, literature, politics and science as well as those working to remake our relationship with food, to show how we might reform its production and distribution to avoid irrevocable climate change”


“The beauty of food is that it is so many things at once: necessity and treat, nature and artifice, the subject of science, philosophy, etiquette and art. The book is accordingly multiple in its themes, an all-you-can-eat buffet of thoughts and facts about food...a brave and ambitious book”


“Steel’s first book, Hungry City, explored how the feeding of cities shaped civilisations over time; with Sitopia she extends her reach. Food shapes our world and the way we live in it. It determines our daily routines, it defines national cultures”

Erica Wagner, Financial Times

“Steel’s future society would be one in which we felt in tune with nature and were less addicted to consumerism”

Ben Cooke, The Times

“Steel brilliantly uses food to demonstrate our ills and their causes. She shows, too, that food, if we value it properly, can heal us… [A] remarkable, prophetic, and desperately urgent book”

Charles Foster, Oldie

“Steel's exhilarating...journey through political, cultural, economic history will agitate sluggish imaginations to see new possibilities for nourishing a loving common life”

Nathan Mladin, Tablet

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