Feb 18, 2013

The Power of IDEAS

Changing the Way We Eat
18 minutes each
LaDonna Redmond, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
Fred Bahnson, Director, Food, Faith & Religious Leadership Initiative
Simran Sethi, Journalist
Gary Hirshberg, CEO, Stonyfield Farm
Tama Matsuoka Wong, Principal, Meadows and More
Dr. William Li, President, Angiogenesis Foundation
Anna Lappe, Principal, Small Planet Institute
Annemarie Colbin, CEO, Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts
Peter Lehner, Executive Director, NRDC
Steve Wing, Associate Professor, University of North Carolina
Peter Hoffman, Chef, Back Forty
Bill Yosses, Executive Pastry Chef, The White House
Maisie Greenawalt, Vice President of Strategy, Bon Appetit Management
Lindsey Lusher Shute, ExecutiveDirector, National Young Farmers' Coalition
Cheryl Kollin, Principal, Full Plate Ventures
Ann Cooper, Renegade Lunch Lady
David McInerney, Co-Founder, Fresh Direct
Music from:
Ulysses Owens Jr. 
Kaki King
Film clips from:
Standing Ground
Food Chains
A Place at the Table

Nine hours later, I can tell you there are a lot of people, who are passionate about changing the way we eat NOW.  I felt like I was on the front line of a movement.   I haven't felt that way in a long time.  
"The front lines of sustainability should be led by those who have been most wounded by the system." Fred Bahnson, author of Soil and Sacrament

"Like seeds, our future is contained within us."
Simran Sethi
"There are 6,000 edible wild plants called weeds we can eat. "
Tama Matsuoka Wong

You have to apply to attend TEDx Manhattan.  I was lucky to be selected for the audience.  In the "What to Expect" section of the brochure, TEDxManhattan implored us  "Don't push your agenda and force your business cards on everyone - just relax and let the amazing TEDx magic happen.  Meet a stranger.  Meet many strangers.  TEDx Manhattan is partly about the talks you'll hear during the day, but equally as important are the people you will meet. Walk up to your fellow attendees and introduce yourself; join the conversations happening around you - make the most our of every minute you have."

I tried to do this.  The speakers were amazing.  No one used notes.  I am in awe of the ability to seemingly speak extemporaneously.  Having given a few talks in my time, I marvel at anyone who is completely at ease on stage in front of an audience.  TEDX  is about "the power of ideas."  I secretly wanted to have my mind blown.  I wanted to leave with a to do list.  I wanted to feel like my feet were barely touching the ground.  Instead, I had my own ideas reinforced.  I wasn't alone.

My expectations were met during the lunch hour. We sat in long tables of 75 - we ate communally and exchanged ideas.  This was when I experienced the power of ideas and the power of TED.  
Out of all the speakers, I think it's worth summarizing what Peter Lehner of NRDC (National Resources Defense Council) had to say about food waste.  
  • 40% of all food in the United States goes from farm to fork to landfill.
  • The average family wastes $2,000 every year on food not eaten and thrown out.
  • 25 pounds of food are thrown out per year per person.
  • 1/5 of all food produced goes to landfills.
  • 6 billion pounds of crops every year are unharvested and wasted.
  • The average supermarket wastes 10% of its food.
The take away... GET TO WORK!


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