Ellen Gustafson

Ellen_GustafsonOn September 23, 2011 at 4 PM at the Bryan Cave Moot Courtroom in Anheuser-Busch Hall, food activist Ellen Gustafson talked about “A New Understanding of Hunger, Obesity and the Food System.”

You can listen to her talk on our audio streaming website.

It is possible for every person to be an activist about food … we all have to eat.

That quote sums up Ellen Gustafson’s belief that the serious problems of hunger and obesity can and must be solved. The former United Nations’ spokesperson for its World Food Program is using her skills to create real solutions, first with the FEED initiative, and now with the 30 Project. Gustafson is raising funds for programs that benefit children in need of good nutritional food, and that educate people about the factors that contribute to the problem, such as political instability, most dramatically revealed by the recent droughts in Somalia.

The FEED Projects’ mission is to create products that help feed the world. This is done by the sale of environmentally friendly and artisan-made FEED tote bags, bags, pouches, T-shirts, stuffed bears and accessories. Each product has a set donation built into its price. The donation is used to provide warm meals for people throughout the world. Gustafson also is the former executive director of the FEED Foundation, a nonprofit organization that has provided more than 65 million meals to school children worldwide.

In her more recent venture, the 30 Project, Gustafson addresses the world’s hunger and obesity problems as a holistic global food issue. She hopes that over the next 30 years, our food and agricultural systems will provide healthy balanced meals for everyone.

Gustafson earned a bachelor’s degree in international politics from Columbia University. Prior to dedicating herself to the world’s food issues, her primary focus was on international security. She also wrote about terrorism for ABC News and was a research associate at the Council on Foreign Relations.

In the following TED talk, Gustafson says hunger and obesity are two sides of the same coin. In her talk, she launches The 30 Project — a way to change how we farm and eat in the next 30 years, and solve the global food inequalities behind both epidemics.