Promoting Biodiversity in Food Systems


Edited by Irana W Hawkins
Sarah Delcourt, MS, RD1

Perm J 2020;23:19.069 [Full Citation]
E-pub: 09/20/2019

19.069Poor health status, population growth, pollution, and climate change are major topics of discussion worldwide. The questions asked by a variety of laypeople and professionals on these topics include: How can health status improve among all populations? and what impact does the environment have on human health? Researchers are taking a closer look at what affects human and environmental health. New and old approaches are being implemented to address these concerns within the realm of farming, food production, and health care. Irana Hawkins, editor of Promoting Biodiversity in Food Systems, presents a compelling collection of research about biodiversity at all levels, from microscopic to global, and its vital role in improving the health status of life on earth in a sustainable manner. The purpose of the book is to convey how important it is to conserve and promote biodiversity, with food systems emphasized as the most critical component of this mission. The information presented within Promoting Biodiversity in Food Systems is organized, well-researched, and emphasizes the importance and necessity of using an interdisciplinary approach to enable healthful eating while supporting people and planetary health.

The chapters in Promoting Biodiversity in Food Systems are written by various authors with an assortment of credentials and expertise. Each chapter presents current, evidenced-based research from reliable sources. Helpful and appropriate diagrams, tables, pictures, and other visuals are used in most chapters. In addition, each chapter builds on the next, and collectively they present a strong argument for how and why biodiversity is a key component in achieving health for all life on earth. Specific, realistic solutions are provided by each author for achieving sustainable biodiversity and better health for humans and the planet. The book is unique in that it makes a strong recommendation not only to choose plant-based foods (sustainable, environmental-friendly, and cost-efficient), but also to choose and support organic produce and farming practices (more sustainable and environmental-friendly than conventionally grown food, encourages/utilizes biodiversity). Opportunities to improve this book in future editions include an in-depth analysis of agrochemicals and their effect on human health and nutrient composition of foods.

As a whole, Promoting Biodiversity in Food Systems promotes an interdisciplinary approach for achieving planetary health. It makes clear that everyone —from farmers to consumers to food processors and producers to the professionals in the health care sector—has an important role in his/her health and no one can be left out. Overall, the common theme found in Promoting Biodiversity in Food Systems is that both individuals and communities can help “restore biodiversity, stability, and resilience in local ecosystems and beyond.”1p207 The book emphasizes that we all make a difference, and we can make little and big changes in our lifestyle patterns to support planetary health. By taking a closer look at the research regarding poor health, population growth, environmental pollution, and climate change, Promoting Biodiversity in Food Systems presents a variety of thoughts, ideas, and solutions to address what can be done today, and what should be implemented in the near future. In addition, it suggests further scientific research that should be conducted to better understand and deal with current and future environmental changes, and the inseparable needs of both people and the planet.

Disclosure Statement

The author(s) have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

How to Cite this Article

Delcourt S. Promoting biodiversity in food systems edited by Irana W Hawkins. Perm J 2019;23:19.069. DOI:

Author Affiliations

1 Los Angeles Center for Healthy Living, Pasadena, CA

Corresponding Author

Sarah Delcourt, MS, RD (

1. Hawkins IW, editor. Promoting biodiversity in food systems. 1st ed. Baca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 2018.

Keywords: biodiversity, food systems, planetary health, promoting biodiversity, sustainable biodiversity


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