At the first annual New York Times Food for Tomorrow conference, journalist, cookbook author, and self-described “rabble rouser” Mark Bittman discusses his broader vision on how to change the food system and how to feed a growing population of the world’s poor, which is, as Bittman puts it, “sort of a tall order.”

Bittman argues that it’s poverty—and not lack of food—that causes hunger. He says,

“The way to feed the nine billion is simple: eliminate poverty. Because the root of the issue of hunger are lack of equality and democracy, not lack of food supply.”

Hunger and malnutrition are not about agriculture, they’re about economics, he explains.

Bittman goes on to discuss the industrial food system, and how industrial agriculture fits into feeding the world. He says,

“If you want food that puts eaters, the environment, workers, and animals first—food that’s green, fair, affordable, and nutritious—then you want to change the industrial food system because most of what it produces pollutes, sickens, exploits, and robs. If you want to profits and the so-called free market first, you probably think the biggest problem with the industrial food system is people like me, saying things like I just said.”

But the fact that we’re finally able to force powerful industry leaders to listen is a really good thing, explains Bittman. “Because up until recently, we were largely ignored,” he says. Bittman cites the passage of the soda tax in Berkley and the decline of McDonald’s as just two of many indications that the system is starting to change.

Ultimately, Bittman is arguing that you can feed the world, and farm ecologically. Listen to Bittman’s full speech in the video above.

[via The New York Times Conferences]