Ellen Gustafson – TRANSCRIPT
I’m Ellen and I’m totally obsessed with food. But I didn’t start out obsessed with food.
I started out obsessed with global security policy, because I lived in New York during 9/11 and it was a very relevant thing I got from global security policy to food because I realized when I’m hungry, I’m really pissed off, and I’m assuming the rest of the world is too.
Especially if you and your kids are hungry and your neighbor’s kids are hungry and your whole neighborhood is hungry. And actually, it looks like the areas of the world that are hungry are also the areas of the world that are pretty insecure.
So I took a job at the United Nations World Food Programme as a way to try to address these security issues through food security issues.
There, I came across what I think is the most brilliant of their programs. It’s called School Feeding and it’s a really simple idea to get in the middle of the cycle of poverty and hunger that continues for a lot of people around the world, and stop it.
A free school meal gets kids into school, which is education, the first step out of poverty, but it also gives them the micronutrients and the macronutrients they need to develop mentally and physically.
While I was working at the UN, I met this girl. Her name is Lauren Bush. And she had this really awesome idea to sell the bag, called the “Feed Bag” — which is really beautifully ironic because you can strap on the Feed Bag.
But each bag we’d sell would provide a year’s worth of school meals for one kid. It’s so simple, and we thought, OK, it costs between 20 and 50 bucks to provide school feeding for a year. We could sell these bags and raise a ton of money and awareness for the World Food Programme.