Ellen Gustafson is a sustainable food system activist, author, innovator and social entrepreneur. She has been on the cutting edge of the biggest consumer and social trends of the past ten years. As a celebrated early social entrepreneur, respected activist and author and leader in the most prominent movements and causes of our time, she has a proven track record of seeing what's next and what's important in helping to address it.

One of the first entrepreneurs in the BOGO and give-back consumer trend, Ellen co-founded FEED Projects, LLC, a charitable company that creates good products that help FEED the world, and FEED's nonprofit partner, the FEED Foundation. FEED has since provided almost 100 million school meals to children around the world.

As a leading voice in the fight to end hunger, she was an early proponent of the now-common idea that hunger and obesity are linked in a broken food system—not two foreign, stand-alone challenges. Upon release of her first TEDx talk, she founded the 30 Project, a campaign that has helped to change the conversation about the global food system by connecting hunger and obesity, which then led to her early work in helping Danielle Nierenberg start Food Tank: the Food Think Tank.

She is currently the co-director of the Summit Institute, a non-profit that convenes the top entrepreneurs and thinkers to take on big global challenges. Her first book, We the Eaters: If We Change Dinner, We Can Change the World, was published by Rodale Press in 2014, and is a smart manifesto on how the American eater shapes the global food system.

Before co-founding FEED, Ellen was a U.S. Spokesperson for the UN World Food Program, a terrorism research reporter in the ABC News Investigative Unit, and a research associate for the Military Fellows at the Council on Foreign Relation. She has a BA in International Politics from Columbia University.

She has been featured as one of AOL and PBS's MAKERS, trailblazing women who are "making" America, Fortune's 2009 Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs, Inc.'s 2010 30 Under 30, and Diplomatic Courier's 2011 "Top 99 Under 33" in Foreign Policy. Ellen has spoken at the Fortune Most Powerful Women's Conference, the World Food Prize, and was the co-chair of the Economist's Feeding the World Conference. She has guest lectured at Harvard, Yale, NYU, London School of Economics, Columbia and the US Naval Academy and given 4 TEDx talks.



From our sustainable food choices to our move toward walkable urban lifestyles to our consumer fascination with BOGO and fair trade, the Millennial generation has continued to make sustainable living & giving some of the hottest trends. As a trailblazer in give-back social enterprise (co-founding FEED) and an early voice in changing food systems, Ellen discusses how she's studied and been a part of shaping the trends that make up the new, hip and healthy Main Street. "Take a walk" with her as she explains how all of this continues to take shape in your local communities and how consumer behaviors may affect your next business pivot.


On a global scale, there's a very large percentage of us who are either suffering from obesity or from hunger. Far from complete opposites, hunger and obesity are in fact different manifestations of the same problem: it's increasingly difficult to find and eat nutritious food. By outlining the common roots of the problems of one billion hungry and one billion overweight on the planet today, Ellen lays out a compelling case for the system being the problem as well as a few simple things that all people can do to push towards a better global food system.


As an early innovator in the social entrepreneurship field and a system-change thought leader in the food movement, Ellen speaks to a new way to look at problems and solutions. Through her personal story of a non-traditional career path and the trials and triumphs of starting FEED and Change Dinner to her new endeavor assembling diverse and powerful thought leaders to explore and learn cutting edge opportunities to result in real world actions at the Summit Institute, Ellen inspires people to follow their passions and lead.






Every once in a while I come across a person who knocks my socks off with their plan for a better world. These meetings are rare, so when they happen I’m usually left in speechless awe. I had such an experience the other day when talking with Ellen Gustafson, a visionary and go-getter of the highest order.
— American Express OPEN Forum