Raj Patel

On January 30, 2013, Raj Patel presented his talk "Food Cultures for Sustainability" at the University of Alberta.

Raj Patel discussed the need to change our food systems and how people and organizations can build better ways to eat today so all of us can eat well tomorrow.

Often described as “the rock star of social justice writing”, his most recent book, the New York Times best seller "The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy," has been hailed as a deeply thought-provoking guide to the way economics works, exploring the recent economic collapse and painting a clear picture of how to achieve a fairer, more sustainable economy and society.

He is also the author of the acclaimed book Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System, which discusses the growing worldwide food crisis and what needs to be done to solve it.

Recently Patel has been working on a major documentary film project on how to feed the world in the future, with acclaimed director Steve James (Hoop DreamsThe Interrupters) and Participant Media (An Inconvenient TruthFood, Inc.).


Patel is currently a visiting scholar in the Center for African Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, and an honorary research fellow at the School of Development Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He is also the recipient of an IATP Food and Community Fellowship and is a fellow at the Institute for Food and Development Policy, also known as Food First.

The London native graduated from Balliol College at Oxford University and, by way of the London School of Economics, went on to pursue his PhD from Cornell University, which led him to research economic and cultural globalization.

Patel’s thoughts on food, hunger, and globalization have appeared in a number of US and international news sources, including The Los Angeles Times, NYTimes.com, and The Guardian. He has been featured inNewsweek and Time, and has appeared on The Colbert Report, the BBC, and NPR, as well as a range of recent food and economic documentaries (Payback, Queen of the Sun, Finding North).

As an advisor to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Patel has testified to Congress on the causes of the world food crisis. He is involved in several international organizations, including the Land Research Action Network (LRAN), a network of researchers and social movements committed to the promotion and advancement of the fundamental rights of individuals and communities to land. He also works with La Via Campesina, an international peasant movement advancing the cause of food sovereignty around the world, and with the South African shackdwellers organization, Abahlali base Mjondolo, the largest independent group advocating social change in South Africa.

Lunch Session

A lunchtime session was hosted as part of the City of Edmonton's The Way We Green Speaker Series.


Raj Patel's visit was co-hosted by the City of Edmonton’s The Way We Green Speakers Series, the University of Alberta’s Sustainability Speakers Series and was part of the University of Alberta's International Week 2013.

Did You Know?

The Student Engagement in International Education poster presentation took place before the lecture. Raj Patel mingled with students at a catered reception hosted by Elm Cafe.

This pre-event was provided by the University of Alberta’s Standing Advisory Council on International Engagement (SACIE) and the Faculty of Arts.