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Feeding the World Better

Ellen Gustafson's Sustainable Eating Talk Seeks to Change the World

— May 15, 2014 — Keynote Trends
In her sustainable eating talk, Ellen Gustafson suggests that "eating is an agricultural act," which, in turn, may be a healthcare act.

Gustafson seeks to examine the intersectionality between patriotism and food. Though everyone is connected to food, there are plenty of people who are not fed well. In fact, there are 49 million hungry Americans alone. That figure rises to nearly a billion when we consider the rest of the world. On the flip side, there are also close to 1.4 billion people who suffer from obesity, which is a more recent problem. These figures are directly related to our changing farming practices, with most farmers growing corn and soy beans to amplify our junk food. Moreover, junk food has become especially prevalent because it is artificially cheap to make and buy. However, this means that we're spending more tax dollars than ever before on our healthcare system due to outcomes of the obesity crisis. Gustafson suggests that if we spent more money on food, we would have to spend less on healthcare.

The same is true when we consider how to feed hungry populations overseas. The solution is not merely to send them our excess, but to change how the world eats entirely. American eaters have an incredible power to effect global, political, capitalist and cultural decisions. Gustafson encourages us to "eat our values," suggesting that change can start at our own kitchen tables.
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