We are excited to be attending TEDxManhattan: Changing the Way We Eat this Saturday. The PRINT. team has been a proud supporter and sponsor of the food-and-farming-focused TEDxManhattan since its inception in 2011. It’s a great event that informs, inspires, and connects us to the local and national good food movement. This year’s group of dynamic and diverse speakers includes restaurateur Danny Meyer talking about fine dining and chain restaurants – the evolvement and overlap of the two; entrepreneur Ali Partovi on the real reason organic food costs more; philanthropist Stephen Reily who will talk about how cities can build platforms to help the local food economy achieve sustainability and scale; attorney Michele Merkel on fighting for justice in rural America; Marcel Van Ooyen, the Executive Director of GrowNYC, talking about scaling up local food distribution to take it from niche to mainstream; culinary nutritionist Stefanie Sacks on how small changes in eating can make big differences, as well as conversations about women farmers, ending hunger in the U.S., the power of ugly vegetables; and DJ Cavem and Alkemia Earth discussing health education through art and hip hop music. It should be a really interesting day, and what is cool about TEDxManhattan is that while it’s always energizing to attend in person, the whole thing is meant to be shared with people watching remotely as well, either streamed to your individual laptop, or through viewing parties. You can check out the live stream here.
We are also engaged with TEDxManhattan organizer Diane Hatz’s side project, Change Food, which continues the conversation after TEDxManhattan has ended. The last Change Food event we attended was in November. Meat Labels: Natural No More consisted of talks by key experts in this field, along with a guided discussion and strategy session to develop actionable strategies to stop the confusion with the term “natural.” While the term “natural” seems like it should be a good thing, it’s essentially meaningless when used on meat labels because there is no common or legal definition. A recent national survey by Consumer Reports shows that the majority of customers are unaware of this, believing, for example, that it means that animals were provided access to the outdoors or never given antibiotics. None of that is true. In then end, the use of the word “natural” is deceiving to consumers, and undermines the work of small family farms who are truly raising animals in natural environments, feeding them natural diets, and offering natural healthcare. Events like TEDxManhattan and Change Food are so important because they encourage these conversations and actions towards change.