208 Pages
    by Routledge

    208 Pages
    by Routledge

    Whether smashed on toast or hailed as a superfood, the avocado has taken the world by storm, but what are the environmental and social impacts of this trendy fruit?

    This book does not seek to demonise the avocado and its many enthusiasts. Instead, it will illuminate consumers on the often unseen impacts of foods. A staple of cafes, restaurants, homes, and social media channels, demand for the avocado has grown exponentially over the past thirty years. From an everyday crop in South and Central America to a global phenomenon, this drastic change in demand has many consequences for people and the planet. As demand grows, so does the need for more land, with land clearances threatening habitats and biodiversity. As production grows, so does global distribution and the impacts that air and sea travel have on the environment. The shift from a local to a global product disturbs the local food system, raising serious questions around food sovereignty and food justice and the importance of establishing an agricultural system that is both environmentally and socially just. While focusing here on the avocado, this book allows readers to gain a better understanding of the food system as a whole. In doing so, it empowers us all to think carefully and critically about the environmental and ethical implications of our food choices more broadly. We shouldn’t feel guilty about eating avocados, we should simply understand the impact of doing so.

    This book is essential reading for all who are interested in learning more about the food system, sustainable diets, and the relationship between farming and the environment.

    1. The American Pear: The History of the Avocado 

    2. Commercially Viable: The Creation of the Hass Avocado

    3. Superfood: The Nutritional Value of Avocados

    4. Avocado Toast: Social Media, Marketing, and Influence

    5. Green Gold: The Creation of NAFTA and the Resistance of US Producers

    6. Holy Guacamole: Impact of NAFTA on Mexican Food Systems

    7. New Markets: Regional Challenges to Mexico’s Avocado Monopoly 

    8. The High Seas: The Global Avocado Trade and Shipping

    9. Growing Orchards: Land-use Change and Biodiversity Loss from Avocado Cultivation 

    10. Embedded Water: How Avocados Impact Water and the Potential Policy Solutions

    11. Vida Campesina: Mexican Agroecology and Food Sovereignty 

    12. Cartel Control: Narcotics, Criminality, and Avocados

    13. Alternative Guacamole: Shifting Consumption Patterns

    14. Assurance: Certifying Avocados and the Role of Technology

    15. A New Generation: Genetics and Novel Breeding of Avocados 


    Honor May Eldridge has worked on sustainable food policy for the past decade in both the USA and the UK. During this time, she has focused on the environmental and social impact of agricultural systems and produced a wealth of reports and briefings for political and civil society audiences. She has worked both in and out of government, including for the Food Standards Agency, Sustainable Food Trust, the Soil Association, and the Center for Food Safety.

    "This book is a desperately needed examination into the extensive impact that our food system has on our planet."

    Randy Hayes, Founder of Rainforest Action Network

    "Every food that we eat has an impact on our planet and our society. The Avocado Debate is a timely consideration of the journey of one fruit."

    Vicki Hird, author of Rebugging the Planet

    "The Avocado Debate is a much-needed examination of the far-ranging impact that one food can have on our society and our planet."

    Rob Percival, author of The Meat Paradox

    "Honor Eldridge’s exploration of questions around global food trade and sustainability is both needed and timely." 

    Patrick Holden, Founder of the Sustainable Food Trust

    "The Avocado Debate highlights the complexity of the fruit’s production and the environmental and social impact that they have on our planet"

    Professor Ruben Sommaruga, Professor of Ecology at the University of Innsbruck