The Future of Food: A Reading List

A crash course in how new innovations are changing everything from farming to cooking

2 min read

Kiwi. Image credit: Andrew Magill // CC BY 2.0.
Future of food logo featuring two onions

When the Second World War ended and food rationing gradually became a thing of the past in the United Kingdom, the first bananas to arrive in stores were so exciting, so tantalizing, that children would wolf them down–skin and all. It was the dawn of a new era. An exotic fruit once available only to the rich and well-traveled took hold with the masses.

New foods often precede new knowledge. For our section exploring the future of food–and how what we eat will change us–we’ve collated a list of articles and videos to bring you up to date on the world’s eating habits and its outlook.

“The doctrine of foods is of great ethical and political significance. Food becomes blood, blood becomes heart and brain, thoughts and mind stuff. Human fare is the foundation of human culture and thought. Would you improve a nation? Give it, instead of declamations against sin, better food. Man is what he eats.”

Ludwig Feuerbach, Concerning Spiritualism and Materialism (1863/4)



If you want to know how food and society have changed over the last century–or want to explore some of the more fundamental issues around food, like taste and safety–begin here:


Main course

Here, if you’ll pardon the pun, is the meat–articles that cover the big issues of today and the future. Like the science of how we choose what we eat, and how it gets from farm to plate:

One of the most contentious issues in modern agriculture is genetic modification:

And, if you have any doubt that food is one of the most critical fields of the 21st century:

Here are a couple more theme-specific reading lists we spotted:



Taste is a personal thing, and we love food writing in which writers indulge their opinions, whether dealing with serious or not-so-serious issues:


After-Dinner Entertainment

Not sated? Why not try these videos/shows/movies:

Food, Inc. (2008)

One of many documentaries examining modern, mechanized agriculture from an American perspective, Food, Inc. focuses specifically on meat production and its health and environmental impacts.

More Than Honey (2012)

Bees are crucial for our food chain, pollinating both crops and wild plants. This explains why we must figure out a solution to the worldwide collapse in hive populations.

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)

There is no more imaginative, playful depiction of food in cinema.

Future of food logo featuring two onions

This fall, Medium and How We Get To Next are exploring the future of food and what it means for us all. To get the latest and join the conversation, you can follow Future of Food.