Today! May 19 is Food Revolution Day

Posted by: TED Guest Author

We’ve heard the statistics. Obesity has more than doubled worldwide since 1980. For the first time in history, being overweight is killing more people than being underweight. At least 2.8 million adults die each year as a result of being overweight or obese. Where do we begin to tackle such an immense problem?

There is not one single solution, but there are two key paths: getting moving and eating better. We must change our habits and promote better living.

Today, May 19, Food Revolution Day is a day for people who love food to get back to the basics. To become a conscious community and understand our daily food choices. Learning to cook from scratch is at the heart of the movement. Food Revolution Day can empower everyone to start.

People around the globe are connecting with their community through events at homes, schools, restaurants, local businesses, and farmers’ markets — at food events and dinner parties. You can join one or throw your own today. Do you want to bring the revolution to your company or your school? Check out the toolkits.

Learn more about Food Revolution Day >>

Below, watch Jamie Oliver’s video message to TEDxers, announcing Food Revolution Day:

Comments (16)

  • Pingback: Welcome to the Revolution! « Food Revolution Barrie

  • Lassie Beewood commented on Jun 8 2012

    Food Revolution Day is a day for people who love food to get back to the basics , there are a lof of questions about them on that I can not answer them.

  • commented on May 23 2012

    what could be more important to learn how to live a healthy life. I guess it all starts with what we eat.

  • Alexandru Zbarcea commented on May 20 2012


    I would like to tell you a story. There was a time when in my school, the girls were taught how to make food, their cloths, manners. The boys were taught practical things like, mechanics, basic electricity things etc.

    The politicians from my country changed all this and for the worst.

    • Shallyn Wyatt commented on Jun 15 2012

      I agree, teaching young children the ends and outs of how to prepare proper meals is key. It’s something that should continue to be taught in all school.

  • commented on May 19 2012

    Reblogged this on Whole Wheat Junkie and commented:
    Food Revolution Day!

  • Pingback: TED Blog | Today! May 19 is Food Revolution Day | Food News

  • commented on May 19 2012

    Reblogged this on Ode To Capitalism.

  • Pingback: May 19th is Food Revolution Day | Bette Boomer

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  • Diane Hatz commented on May 15 2012

    Have a Food Revolution Dinner and Some Ed party – Watch TED and TEDx talks on food and eat a local sustainable meal. Find more information at

  • Pingback: 五一九飲食革命日 | TEDxTaipei

  • commented on May 4 2012

    It will happen naturally. Capitalism works both ways. Eventually you cannot kill off your customers. The big companies will react to profits. Burger King announced only cage free chicken eggs last week. Why? Because their customers are asking for it.

    It’s a big business. It will take a little time.


  • Lesley Rickard commented on May 3 2012

    What people eat is less of a decision based on what is good for them and more the result of influence by the massive food industry. We are under so much pressure from these giants who spend billions on convincing us that the rubbish we are eating is in some way ‘good for us’. If we could convince people to stop buying processed ‘food’ and go back to fresh, organic meat and vegetables the obesity problem would be solved. The major obstacle to this is that processed food is convenient and cheap. Try telling a working mum (or dad) about remembering to soak the pulses, shop every two days for fresh veg, ignore the pleas of their telly-obsessed children for ‘brown food’ only – what happens? ‘Oh yeah’ they say ‘and who will pay for it and find the time to cook it!’. Until and unless these food giants genuinely want to cut their profits, reduce their bonuses and return to honest, plain food supply we will not get very far. Not to put a dampner on the programme, but is it really aimed at the masses or at the middle class elite who can afford it?

  • Susan Goewey commented on May 3 2012

    Think small! Please sign this petition to stop subsidizing the soda industry with food stamps. (And to allow food stamp recipients to buy a toothbrush/paste w/ their food stamps).
    Sodas have been linked to 10 diseases…so why are we subsidizing them?!

  • commented on May 2 2012

    We Are What You Eat
    Ian Welch

    The simple act of eating is amazingly complex. Every decision you make regarding the food that passes your lips has a ripple effect in either direction.

    The first ripple is inward and has everything to do with how your body interacts with the food. The second ripple is outward; it is the effect your food decision has on the environment.

    The point of impact is your mouth.

    We Are What You Eat

    Ultimately, the decisions made at the point of impact, have profound implications beyond your own personal health. Your decision has a global reach. “But we don’t have the luxury of philosophizing about food. With the exhaustion of the soil, the impact of global warming and the inevitably rising price of oil — which will affect everything from fertilizer to supermarket electricity bills — our industrial style of food production will end sooner or later. As the developing world grows richer, hundreds of millions of people will want to shift to the same calorie-heavy, protein-rich diet that has made Americans so unhealthy — demand for meat and poultry worldwide is set to rise 25% by 2015 — but the earth can no longer deliver. Unless Americans radically rethink the way they grow and consume food, they face a future of eroded farmland, hollowed-out countryside, scarier germs, higher health costs — and bland taste. Sustainable food has an élitist reputation, but each of us depends on the soil, animals and plants — and as every farmer knows, if you don’t take care of your land, it can’t take care of you.”

    Initially, you need to approach your personal nutritional intake for the benefits it can provide… the immediate benefits that result from deriving your nutrients from Plants. Once that transition has occurred a second benefit arises and it is as equally powerful as the first.

    The second benefit is the satisfaction received when you realize the effect your diet has on the environment. Livestock now use 30 per cent of the earth’s entire land surface.

    I never really gave it much to thought; you buy the food, you cook the food, you eat the food. I was not thinking about how the food made it to my mouth.

    The irony is the greatest single activity we can do for the environment is to adopt a Plant Based diet. The United Nations report, Livestock’s Long Shadow, states that the livestock sector is one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global.

    Honestly, until last year I had no clue what I was doing or eating. I had no idea of the long-term damage I was causing my body. At the same time, however, I was very concerned with the environment. I recall writing an action paper that analyzed the reduction in energy needs if we all kept our tires inflated to the proper PSI… good thought, wrong action.

    I did not realize at the time the food that was slowly killing me was also killing the environment. It stands to reason that nutrition that does not sustain health would also be detrimental to the long-term health of our planet.

    We are at an inflection point in our history. We need to support our own health. As I have stated before, prioritize your Body over your Mind.


    Make a commitment to support your health by embracing a Plant Based diet. Once that commitment is made you will realize the enormity of the impact it has on a myriad of issues.

    We Are What You Eat

    Livestock’s Long Shadow:

    29 November 2006 –

    Cattle-rearing generates more global warming greenhouse gases, as measured in CO2 equivalent, than transportation, and smarter production methods, including improved animal diets to reduce enteric fermentation and consequent methane emissions, are urgently needed, according toa new United Nations report released today.“Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems,” senior UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) official Henning Steinfeld said. “Urgent action is required to remedy the situation.”Cattle-rearing is also a major source of land and water degradation, according to the FAO report, Livestock’s Long Shadow–Environmental Issues and Options, of which Mr. Steinfeld is the senior author.

    “The environmental costs per unit of livestock production must be cut by one half, just to avoid the level of damage worsening beyond its present level,” it warns.

    When emissions from land use and land use change are included, the livestock sector accounts for 9 per cent of CO2 deriving from human-related activities, but produces a much larger share of even more harmful greenhouse gases. It generates 65 per cent of human-related nitrous oxide, which has 296 times the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CO2. Most of this comes from manure.

    And it accounts for respectively 37 per cent of all human-induced methane (23 times as warming as CO2), which is largely produced by the digestive system of ruminants, and 64 per cent of ammonia, which contributes significantly to acid rain.

    With increased prosperity, people are consuming more meat and dairy products every year, the report notes. Global meat production is projected to more than double from 229 million tonnes in 1999/2001 to 465 million tonnes in 2050, while milk output is set to climb from 580 to 1043 million tonnes.

    The global livestock sector is growing faster than any other agricultural sub-sector. It provides livelihoods to about 1.3 billion people and contributes about 40 per cent to global agricultural output. For many poor farmers in developing countries livestock are also a source of renewable energy for draft and an essential source of organic fertilizer for their crops.

    Livestock now use 30 per cent of the earth’s entire land surface, mostly permanent pasture but also including 33 per cent of the global arable land used to producing feed for livestock, the report notes. As forests are cleared to create new pastures, it is a major driver of deforestation, especially in Latin America where, for example, some 70 per cent of former forests in the Amazon have been turned over to grazing.

    At the same time herds cause wide-scale land degradation, with about 20 per cent of pastures considered degraded through overgrazing, compaction and erosion. This figure is even higher in the drylands where inappropriate policies and inadequate livestock management contribute to advancing desertification.

    The livestock business is among the most damaging sectors to the earth’s increasingly scarce water resources, contributing among other things to water pollution from animal wastes, antibiotics and hormones, chemicals from tanneries, fertilizers and the pesticides used to spray feed crops.

    Beyond improving animal diets, proposed remedies to the multiple problems include soil conservation methods together with controlled livestock exclusion from sensitive areas; setting up biogas plant initiatives to recycle manure; improving efficiency of irrigation systems; and introducing full-cost pricing for water together with taxes to discourage large-scale livestock concentration close to cities.