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Jayson Lusk

Food and agricultural economist, author of The Food Police

Organic or Not: Jayson Lusk at TEDxOStateU
  • About Jayson Lusk

    Jayson Lusk is a food and agricultural economist who studies what we eat and why we eat it. His book The Food Police: A Well-Fed Manifesto about the Politics of Your Plate, is a critical account of food and agriculture economics. Following many years of studying food regulation and comparing costs and benefits of the policies in question, Lusk grew disenchanted with a movement that he feels ignores the realities facing most American consumers and farmers. Lusk argues that the “food elite” in America have made food more expensive—putting lower-income consumers at a disadvantage—and prevented us from taking full advantage of emerging technologies in the food industry. In his book, Unnaturally Delicious: How Science and Technology are Serving Up Super Foods to Save the World (2016), Lusk writes about how technology and agriculture can work together to help solve the world’s largest food issues and improve our farming system.

    Since 2000, he’s published more than 190 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals on a wide assortment of topics ranging from the economics of animal welfare to consumer preferences for genetically modified food.  Often listed as one of the most prolific and cited food and agricultural economists of the past two decades in a variety of outlets, Lusk has won numerous research awards, given hundreds of lectures, and has been interviewed in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post,  Fox and Friends, the John Stossel Show, and Wall Street Journal Live, among others.

    Jayson Lusk is a Distinguished Professor and Head of the Agricultural Economics Department at Purdue University. Lusk has served on the editorial councils of eight academic journals including the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, and Food Policy and consulted for various nonprofits, government agencies, and agribusinesses.  He’s further been honored by being elected to and serving on the executive committees of the three largest U.S. agricultural economics associations, including most recently the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association,of which he is a past-president and fellow. In the wake of COVID-19, he has been interviewed by dozens of television, radio, and print journalist seeking information about food system impacts, including mentions in the New York Times, Washington Post,,, Financial Times, LA Times, Reuters, Bloomberg, NPR, Freakonomics and more..


  • Speaking Topics

    Effects of COVID-19 on Food and Agriculture: What can we do better next time?

    The COVID-19 pandemic will have long-lasting implications for the way we eat, grow, and buy food. At the onset of the pandemic, restaurants were shuttered, grocery store shelves were wiped clean, food processing plants were forced to close to prevent the spread of illness, and farmers were left dumping excess production. The exposures of these vulnerabilities in the supply chain is already leading to a re-evaluation of the food sector and revealing just how much we’ve taken for granted. In this talk, food and agricultural economist Jayson Lusk explains how exactly food gets from farm to table, whether we have enough to eat, and reveals how the food system is vulnerable to current and future pandemics, while discussing strategies to help reduce risk and increase resiliency. He explains the consumer attitudes and supply chain factors that led to stock shortages and highlights the economic impacts of the pandemic, asking: How might we do better next time?

    The Food Police

    In a time when many people call themselves food experts, Jayson Lusk takes a critical look at the politics behind food and agriculture. Lusk argues that the “food movement” is built on ever-greater government involvement in the nation’s grocery stores and kitchens, and that consumers should be wary of who is redesigning their food system.

  • Video

  • Praise for Jayson Lusk


    “Jayson Lusk gave an excellent lecture. His message stimulated discussion and was well-received… We have had very good feedback.”

    Canadian University

    Jayson Lusk helped to make the 2015 Young Farmer Conference a huge success! His opening keynote set the perfect tone about the importance of taking the initiative to connect with consumers. His message was repeated and reinforced throughout the conference. I’m still hearing lots of great feedback about him and his presentation from the participants, our board, and my coworkers.

    State Farm Federation

    Jayson Lusk is an excellent speaker who delivered a very timely issue with good data, humor, and some personal anecdotes. His talk was a good mix of the issues with academic integrity, yet without feeling like a classroom lecture. The turnout was excellent and exceeded our expectations—we even had to bring in additional chairs to fill the overflow! We had a very diverse audience in terms of age and political spectrum and Jayson was respectful and gracious in answering questions afterward. I highly recommend him as a speaker.

    University of Delaware
  • Books by Jayson Lusk

  • Media About Jayson Lusk

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and Availability

  • 212 572-2013
  • Jayson Lusk travels from West Lafayette, IN

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