“When I’m hungry, I’m Pretty Pissed Off.”

Obesity + Hunger = 1 GLOBAL Food Issue

In May 2010 at the TEDxEast conference Ellen Gustafson spoke about the global food economy and  issues that are prevalent around the world concerning food. Gustafson explains how she believes obesity and hunger are two sides of the same coin. She explains how after 1980, after the oil crisis and mass consolidation of small farmers in America the global food economy and market changed drastically. Since then American farming has changed what we as consumer eat:

  • more refined grains
  • more added fats and oils
  • more added sugars
  • 80% of US corn feed and overseas cows, chicken and fish
  • 12% US corn syrup become corn chips or high-frutose corn syrup
  • 60% US soy beans become soybean frying oil

Obesity + Hunger = 1 Global Food Issue

Our whole food system has shifted and the food choices of Americans are affecting eaters around the world, since so much of American produce and food is exported. She shows an example [@ 5:25] of how some countries are going from starvation to obesity in just one generation because of American food exports.

1 billion people hungry. 1 billion people obese.

Gustafson then launches her project, The 30 Project. This project is an attempt to change the food system over the next thirty years to recreate the food system through long term goals:

  • aligning international and domestic activism
  • developing sustainable food system goals and planning the strategies to achieve them
  • connecting a coalition of 30 key organizations to work together on systematic change
  • easy access to fresh fruit and veggies for every person on the planet
  • all meat and fish raised sustainably for environmental and human health
  • processed foods priced with all negatives externalities

Gustafson’s dream is a big one, but one that has a lot of meaning behind it. I hope that this TEDtalk inspired you to think more about the global food system and the affects we have on one another globally.



3 comments on ““When I’m hungry, I’m Pretty Pissed Off.”

  1. Good summary. I wonder how her negative externalities will come into food prices. That is usually through taxation and the food industries will fight that. I am not saying it won’t happen, just that it will involve a political fight.

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