About the website

This website gives a preview of the book Rethinking Food and Agriculture: New Ways Forward, edited by Amir Kassam and Laila Kassam, published by Elsevier in October 2020. It shares extracts from each of the 20 chapters and provides information about each of the authors. It highlights some of the book’s key themes along with the concept of ‘inclusive responsibility’ developed in the book.

About the book

Given the central role of the food and agriculture system in driving so many of the interconnected ecological, social and economic crises we currently face, Rethinking Food and Agriculture reviews, reassesses and reimagines the current food and agriculture system and the narrow paradigm in which it operates.

The book explores and uncovers some of the key drivers and root causes of unsustainability, degradation of the agricultural environment, destruction of nature and drawbacks in the dominant science and knowledge system. It reviews efforts towards ‘sustainable development’ and reassesses whether they have led to improved sustainability, equity and justice. The book highlights the many ways that farmers and their communities, civil society groups, social movements, development experts, scientists and others have been raising awareness of these issues, implementing solutions and forging ‘new ways forward’. These ways forward include alternative paradigms of agriculture, human nutrition and political economy, which are more sustainable and just.

The book proposes ways to move beyond the current limited view of agro-ecological sustainability towards overall sustainability of the food and agriculture system based on ‘inclusive responsibility’. Inclusive responsibility encourages ecosystem sustainability based on agro-ecological and planetary limits to sustainable resource use. It also places importance on quality of life, pluralism, equity and justice for all. It emphasises the health, well-being, sovereignty, dignity and rights of all stakeholders, as well as of nonhuman animals and the natural world.

The book brings together some of the most experienced and forward-thinking academics, activists, development professionals and practitioners in the field. It is a valuable resource for all stakeholders in the public, private and civil sectors of the food and agriculture system including students, academics, activists, researchers, policymakers and politicians.

Preview Rethinking Food and Agriculture on Google Books.


About the editors

Prof. Amir Kassam OBE, FRSB, PhD

Amir Kassam is Visiting Professor in the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, University of Reading, UK, where he teaches Agriculture and Development. He is the Moderator of the FAO-hosted Global Platform for Conservation Agriculture Community of Practice (CA-CoP) and Chairman of the International Conservation Agriculture Advisory Panel for Africa. Born in Tanzania, Amir has a BSc (Hons) in Agriculture and PhD in Agroecology (University of Reading), and MSc in Irrigation (University of California-Davis). Amir is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (UK). He has published widely. In 2005, Amir was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Honours List for services to tropical agriculture and to rural development. Amir’s former positions include: Deputy Director General (Programme) at the Africa Rice Centre, CGIAR; Interim Executive Secretary of the CGIAR Science Council; and Chairman of the: Aga Khan Foundation (UK); Focus Humanitarian Assistance Europe Foundation; and Tropical Agriculture Association, UK.

Laila Kassam, PhD

Laila Kassam is a development economist and has worked in the international development sector since 2003. She has worked with NGOs, foundations, government ministries and international research and development institutions (including the CGIAR and FAO) focusing on rural development in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Laila is co-founder and Mission Lead of Animal Think Tank, UK. She currently works on issues related to agroecology, sustainability, food system transformation, and animal, climate and social justice. Laila Kassam has a BSc (Hons) in Economics and Politics (University of Bristol), an MSc in Development Management (London School of Economics and Political Science) and a PhD in Development Economics (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London). Laila’s previous positions include: Programme Associate for Rural Development for the Aga Khan Foundation (Geneva); Research Officer for the DFID funded Coastal Rural Support Programme (Kenya); and Overseas Development Institute (ODI) Fellow at the Ministry of Agriculture (Guyana).