Food activist Gustafson to speak for Assembly Series

“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.

Gustafson, a former U.N. spokesperson for the World Food Program, will give the annual Olin Fellows Lecture as part of the Assembly Series at 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23. Her talk, “A New Understanding of Hunger, Obesity and the Food System,” will be held in the Law School Bryan Cave Moot Courtroom in Anheuser-Busch Hall.

Gustafson is using the skills she learned at the U.N. to create real solutions for world hunger and obesity, first as a co-founder of FEED Projects and now with the 30 Project.

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.

At 5:30 p.m., following the Assembly Series lecture, a panel discussion will be held with Gustafson; Dorothy Van Buren, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis; and Patricia Wolff, MD, clinical professor of pediatrics at the School of Medicine and founder of Meds & Food for Kids. The discussion will be moderated by Rachel Amthor, an Ann W. Olin Women’s Fellow at WUSTL.

The lecture and panel discussion are free and open to the public.

For more information on this and other Assembly Series programs, visit or call (314) 935-4620.