Review: ‘Field to Fork’ by Paul B. Thompson

I have a book review for you all today; I may as well start the month as I mean to go on.


From Field to Fork
Food Ethics for Everyone

Paul B. Thompson

Published by: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: 2nd Jun 2015   
Edition: Paperback
ISBN: 9780199391691
Price: $21.95 (USD)


After centuries of neglect, the ethics of food are back with a vengeance. Justice for food workers and small farmers has joined the rising tide of concern over the impact of industrial agriculture on food animals and the broader environment, all while a global epidemic of obesity-related diseases threatens to overwhelm modern health systems. An emerging worldwide social movement has turned to local and organic foods, and struggles to exploit widespread concern over the next wave of genetic engineering or nanotechnologies applied to food. Paul B. Thompson’s book applies the rigor of philosophy to key topics in the first comprehensive study explore interconnections hidden deep within this welter of issues. Bringing to bear more than thirty years of experience working closely with farmers, agricultural researchers and food system activists, he explores the eclipse of food ethics during the rise of nutritional science, and examines the reasons for its sudden re-emergence in the era of diet-based disease. Thompson discusses social injustice in the food systems of developed economies and shows how we have missed the key insights for understanding food ethics in the developing world. His discussions of animal production and the environmental impact of agriculture break new ground where most philosophers would least expect it. By emphasizing the integration of these issues, Thompson not only brings a comprehensive philosophical approach to moral issues in the production, processing, distribution, and consumption of food — he introduces a fresh way to think about practical ethics that will have implications in other areas of philosophy.


I had to put a lot of thought in to writing this review; I found that as I read the book I was stopping to think regularly. This book is challenging and balanced in its arguments. I enjoyed the challenge.

The author pitches his tone just right, hitting a place where non-philosophers can follow the argument with ease but with enough depth to keep those who are already versed in food ethics interested.

Very much worth reading.



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