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Raj  Patel

Raj Patel

Global Policy Expert


Controversial author, journalist, professor and food policy expert Raj Patel continuously challenges our presumptions about the global economy with his work both as a policy analyst and activist. Having worked for some of the most prestigious international organizations—and protested against them—Patel constantly finds ways to improve the world’s food system. Regularly featured in major international news publications and media, Patel’s cutting edge thoughts on food distribution and globalization have become some of the most important and trusted in the world. Read More >

Patel is a man of principles. After working for the World Bank, interning at the World Trade Organization, and consulting for the United Nations, Patel has become a harsh critic of the methods these organizations use and has been tear-gassed on four continents for his protests. Continuing to spread his message and ideas worldwide, Patel’s acclaimed books address the numerous issues he is working to combat. His first book, Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the Whole Food System not only exposed the causes of hunger, starvation and famine, but provided solutions to these issues of inequity. His most recent book, The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy, is a deeply thought-provoking guide to the way global economies work. In it, Patel explores the recent economic collapse and painting a clear picture of how to achieve a fairer, more sustainable economy and society.

In his keynotes, Patel not only diagnoses the causes behind our worldwide food crisis, but offers sustainable and feasible solutions to deal with it. A clever storyteller and engaging speaker, Patel infuses humor into his intelligent and energetic presentations. He rouses his audience through his highly pertinent discussions of globalization and the world’s food system, delivering a message that is ultimately filled with hope. His current project, with acclaimed director Steve James (Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters) finds new ways to tell stories from around the world, of people breaking rules to feed their communities in ways no-one has ever seen. A firm believer that everyone can make a difference, Patel inspires his audiences to find their own way to make the world a better place.






Resume: Read Less ^

  • 2014: Research Professor, Lyndon B Johnson School of Public Affairs, UT Austin
  • 2014: Co-taught the Edible Education 101 class at UC Berkley with Michael Pollan
  • 2010: Published The Value of Nothing
  • 2009: Co-Authored Food Rebellions! Crisis and Hunger for Justice
  • 2008: Published Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System
  • 2006: Co-Authored Promised Land: Competing Visions of Agrarian Reform
  • Education: B.A. (First Class) Balliol College, Oxford University; M.Sc. (with distinction) London School of Economics, Ph.D. Cornell University

Speaker Videos


A Snickers Bar and a Soy Suit

The Value of Nothing Book Trailer

Generation Food Project

TEDTalk: The Secret Ingredient for Ending World Hunger

Speech Topics

The Value of Nothing: Markets & Democracy in a Time of Crisis

To draw attention to how free-market fundamentalism has distorted the way we value our world, Raj Patel claims that the true price of a hamburger is $200 when one factors in hidden environmental and health costs. There is something broken at the heart of the price system, and there has been for years—even the earliest economists and philosophers understood the need for limits to unfettered capitalism and the animal spirits of the market.

How Will We Feed 10 Billion People Sustainably?

We’re already doing a bad job of feeding 7 billion people: about a billion aren’t getting enough to eat. What will we do by century’s end, when we’re predicted to have 10 billion people, much less water and fossil fuel, and climate change will have made itself felt? The good news: there are groups around the world coming up with surprising and profound ways to feed us all.

Stuffed & Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System

Today there are 1 billion people starving and 1.5 billion overweight. The US is the most overweight country on Earth, and has 48 million people who are “food insecure.” How did this come about, and what can be done to stop it? Presenting some of the findings from his recently updated book, Raj Patel tells stories from around the world food system.

Food Rebellions: The History & Future of Food Protests

The Arab Spring began with a hike in the price of wheat. The French Revolution with a bread riot. The American Revolution with a protest over tea. In the US, the 19th amendment came about because women took to the streets demanding cheaper food. What’s the origin of these protests, and what will become of them?