A powerful thinker and globe-trotting advisor on sustainability, Louise Fresco says it's time to think of food as a topic of social and economic importance on par with oil — that responsible agriculture and food consumption are crucial to world stability.

Why you should listen

As food, climate and water crises loom, Louise Fresco is looking hard at how we cultivate our crops and tend our livestock on a global scale. An expert on agriculture and sustainability, Fresco shows how cities and rural communities will remain tied through food, even as populations and priorities shift among them.

A former UN director, a contributor to think tanks and an advisor to academies in Europe and the United States, Fresco has noted how social unrest is made worse by hunger, poverty, environmental problems -- and modernization. Responsible agriculture "provides the livelihood for every civilization," Fresco says, but adds that mere food aid is not a solution to world hunger. She hopes that smart, local solutions for food production will improve war-torn areas and ease the pressures of regulations on production.

Fresco teaches at the University of Amsterdam, writes on policy and economics for the Dutch paper NRC Handelsblad and is also a popular novelist.

What others say

“There is no technical reason why we could not feed a world of nine billion people. Hunger is a matter of buying power, not of shortages.” — Louise Fresco, NRC Handelsblad

Louise Fresco’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Louise Fresco

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TED2009 minutes from Erik Hersman: Louise Fresco on the world's daily bread

February 5, 2009

Erik Hersman is continuing to liveblog TED2009 as Ethan Zuckerman accepts an award at another function. Here’s a sample of his coverage on Louise Fresco, an expert on food and agriculture: “The industrial revolution brought us many great advances. But it also created a world of supermarkets. We shouldn’t despise the Wonder bread, because it […]

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