Issues in Brief, No. 6, April 2009

Pardee Center-Food and Sustainable DevelopmentSeeing Hunger through New Eyes: From Lack to Possibility
By Frances Moore Lappe


April 2009 (8 pages)
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This paper takes a broad and bold look at the questions of food, hunger and development, and raises questions as well as possible solutions that are often missed. The paper concludes: “Nothing is more important to our future than disciplining ourselves to search out stories of possibility — spreading them not as panaceas but as proof that, if we crack the counter-factual frame of lack, we have a fighting chance of turning our planet toward life. Since human beings didn’t evolve to be couch potatoes and whiners — and since acting is infinitely more satisfying than sitting back depressed — that confidence in possibility may be all most people need to stand up to the false story justifying life-destroying concentrations of power. It may be all we need to jump in and to give our all in this momentous time of planetary opportunity.”

This paper is part of The Project on Food and Development, a Pardee Center program of research, publications and symposia exploring the relationship between global food policy and development in its various dimensions. The project is generously supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality of the Netherlands. The views expressed in this paper are strictly those of the author and should not be assumed to represent the views of Boston University or the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality of the Netherlands.

Frances Moore Lappé is the author of 16 books, from Diet for a Small Planet in 1971 to Getting a Grip: Clarity, Creativity, and Courage in a World Gone Mad in 2007. With Anna Lappé, she leads the Small Planet Institute and Small Planet Fund ( She is also cofounder of Food First, the Institute for Food and Development Policy. In 1987 Lappé received the Right Livelihood Award, often called the Alternative Nobel, and in 2008 she was the James Beard Foundation’s Humanitarian of the Year.