Former Speaker Updates

We periodically check in with past TEDxManhattan speakers to see what they’ve been up to since their talks.  Recent updates are below; for older ones, see the Guide to Good Food blog.

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Chef Ann Cooper: Speaker Update

chefann

Chef Ann Cooper is a celebrated author, chef, educator, and enduring advocate for better food for all children. In a nation where children are born with shorter estimated life expectancies than their parents because of diet-related illness, Ann is a relentless voice of reform by focusing on the links between school food and children’s health and wellness.  Ann spoke at TEDxManhattan 2013 about how to get kids access to healthy school food.

What have been the most exciting developments in your work since TEDxManhattan?  My team and I have been very busy since I appeared on TEDxManhattan! September 2014 saw the launch of The Lunch Box, an online web portal that provides school food professionals with free tools to help transition to scratch-cooking and sustainable procurement. The Lunch Box includes menu cycle templates, kid-tested recipes, budget-planning guides, fresh food procurement how-to’s, and more. Schools now have free access to all the nuts and bolts information they need to provide fresh, healthy meals to children across the country.

We’ve also continued to provide schools with equipment and funding to put their new knowledge to work! Through our Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools grant, we’ve sent 854 salad bars to schools nationwide (in 2014 alone!), ensuring that approximately 427,000 children have access to fresh fruits and vegetables every day at school.

We also created and launched Mission Nutrition, a granting program that helps schools encourage kids to eat fresh produce through fruit and vegetable samplings and lunchroom education.

We can’t rely on schools to change their nutrition programs without community involvement. Just as schools need a resource for healthier, scratch-cooked meals, so do parents looking to make a difference in their community. That’s why we created the Parent Advocacy Toolkit in 2014, a step-by-step guide to help parents kick start grassroots change in their own schools’ cafeterias.

What do you have planned for 2015?  2015 is going to be a challenging year for school food, with talk in Congress about rolling back school food guidelines that ensure the meals we feed our children are nutritious and healthy. The Chef Ann Foundation (CAF) and I plan to spend 2015 demonstrating that schools can successfully transition to healthier food. We’ll do that by focusing our efforts on the following initiatives:

  • 830 salad bar, breakfast, Mission Nutrition, and kitchen-equipment grants to provide equipment and funding directly to schools to help them transition to scratch-cooking, fresh food, and healthy students
  • The Lunch Box Training: Training and educating school food professionals across the country on the tools that will help them purchase, prepare and serve students healthy food within their budget
  • The Meat of the Matter: Conducting four case-studies on school districts that have successfully incorporated antibiotic- and hormone-free meat into their school menus
  • Parent Advocacy Initiative: Bringing the Parent Advocacy Toolkit directly to 100 communities with grassroots, parent-led events
  • Bulk Milk: Establishing a new granting program that will help schools transition away from single-serve milk bottles and cartons to bulk milk dispensers and reusable cups

Where can people learn more about your work going forward?  Visiting the Chef Ann Foundation website is the best way to stay up to date on all the latest school food news and program updates, and to keep track of my speaking engagements. Another great way to stay informed about my work is by signing up for our newsletters.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the food system today, and how would you solve it?  The food industry, and especially the junk and fast-food industries, has invested billions of dollars creating the illusion that unhealthy food is nourishing, convenient, delicious and fun. And they’ve invested an equally huge amount in fighting every effort to improve the transparency of food labels, so that the public remains ignorant. This kind of deceptive marketing is most damaging to our nation’s kids, who are being brain-washed into loyal junk food customers. Establish dependence and a taste for processed, fast and junk food at an age when kids don’t know better, and those eating habits will follow them into adulthood.

This is why I’ve partnered with Jamie Oliver and Alice Waters to create the Food Truth Coalition. Pooling the resources of our three foundations – the Chef Ann Foundation, the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation (USA) and The Edible School Yard Project – we launched Food Truth on January 7, speaking with legislators, educators, activists and even Jimmy Kimmel to share our message: food education for all children.

You can find out more about how we plan on using the Coalition to combat the fast food industry by reading my U.S. News and World Report blog: Food Truth: Unplug from the Matrix.

What recipe would you most like to share with the TEDxManhattan community?  It’s so hard to choose just one recipe to share with the TEDxManhattan community, because the Lunch Box recipe database has hundreds of kid-tested, delicious and nutritious meals to choose from! All our recipes can be scaled, saved and downloaded.

One of my favorites is this recipe for chicken street tacos. Not only has the recipe been analyzed to meet USDA guidelines, but it was created by a middle schooler! Every year Boulder Valley School District holds a junior chef competition in which we challenge the middle schoolers to create a complete reimbursable meal. We honor the winning dish by including it on the menu the next year. Last year’s winner were these delicious street tacos. The kids love them and so do I.

Which 2015 speaker(s) are you most excited to hear from?  I’m looking forward to hearing from Joel Berg, Dana Cowin, Nikiko Masumoto and Danielle Nierenberg. All of these good food advocates offer a unique perspective on the challenges we face in today’s food system and I’m looking forward to their insights.

What are your favorite TEDxManhattan talks from past years?

Sunny Young, Good Food for Oxford Schools: Good Food Can Change Everything (2014)

Gary Hirshberg, Stonyfield Farm: Why Genetically Engineered Foods Should be Labeled (2013)

Anna Lappé, Small Planet Institute: Marketing Food to Children (2013)

LaDonna Redmond, Campaign for Food Justice Now: Food + Justice = Democracy (2013)

Mazie Ganzler, Bon Appétit: How the Humane Sausage Gets Made (2013)

 

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Curt Ellis: Speaker Update

Curt Ellis

Curt Ellis, Co-Founder and Executive Director of FoodCorpsspoke at TEDxManhattan 2011 about the launch of FoodCorps, the nationwide service program in which young leaders connect children to real food to help them grow up healthy.

What have been the most exciting developments in your work since TEDxManhattan?  FoodCorps launched its first program year with 50 service members in 2011, followed by a class of 80 service members and 12 fellows in 2012, a class of 125 service members and 15 fellows in 2013, and our latest class of 182 service members and 17 fellows this fall.

Last spring we were invited to help plant the White House garden with Michelle Obama. The First Lady called FoodCorps “close to her heart.” She said that the work we do — “getting out there and teaching healthy habits for our kids — is brilliant.” That day was a moving validation of everything our service members and partners are building around the country.

What do you have planned for 2015?  We’ll continue to build a better FoodCorps at the same time as we’re building a bigger one. Our plan for 2015 is to double down on the vision FoodCorps set out with three years ago, which is as audacious and thorny and awesome and challenging as ever: building a national organization that meets the diverse needs of a grassroots movement––and together with our partners and corps members, create a nation where children know what healthy food is, care where it comes from, and can and do eat it every day.

What impact did TEDxManhattan have on your work?  The opportunity to speak at TEDxManhattan was an incredible platform from which to launch FoodCorps’ first program year. The video of that talk has been shared with countless supporters, partners and prospective service members over the years — the ripple effects of these connections are immeasurable.

Where can people learn more about your work going forward?  Visit FoodCorps online at www.foodcorps.org, like us on Facebook, and follow us @foodcorps on Twitter and Instagram.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the food system today, and how would you solve it?  Goodness, that’s a big question! The challenges facing our food system today are deeply interwoven. At FoodCorps, we’re working on a part of the solution: increasing a child’s access to and engagement with healthy food at school. FoodCorps envisions a future in which all our nation’s children know what healthy food is, care where it comes from, and have access to it every day. When our work is done, generations that follow will grow up enveloped in a vibrant school food environment––and will go on to lead healthier, more productive and longer lives. In the FoodCorps model, new leaders get their start in careers. Community organizations accelerate local solutions that are working. And along the way, hundreds of school food reform programs share strategies and unite behind a common plan for national change.

What recipe would you most like to share with the TEDxManhattan community?  This Rad-Cuke Salad was developed by the amazing Lola Bloom of City Blossoms. It’s been tested and approved by the third-graders at Oak View Elementary in Guilford County, NC.

Which 2015 speakers are you most excited to hear from?  Ali Partovi (FoodCorps board member!), DJ Cavem, Anim Steel, and Danielle Nierenberg.

What are your favorite TEDxManhattan talks from past years?  LaDonna Redmond, Fred Kirschenmann, Laurie David, Gary Hirshberg, and Saru Jayaraman.

What else would you like to share with the TEDxManhattan audience?  This terrific PBS piece on school lunches featuring Caroline Stover, a former FoodCorps service member in North Carolina who just took up a new post as our state-wide fellow.

 

 

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Karen Hudson: Speaker Update

Karen Hudson

Karen Hudson, former President of the Dairy Education Alliance and now a consultant for the Socially Responsible Agricultural Project (SRAP), spoke at TEDxManhattan 2011 about the dangers of industrial agriculture to public health.

What have been the most exciting developments in your work since TEDxManhattan?
We defeated AG GAG in Illinois.

What are your biggest plans going forward?
Working to defeat the industrial dairy influence in Wisconsin. Working on legislative changes in Illinois. Moving forward with a rebuttal of a paper by the University of Illinois with OUR new position by SRAP on CAFOs in Illinois.  Educating urbanites on the Farm Bureau influence which is not representative of socially responsible agriculture but of bottom line agriculture.
I produce a weekly newsletter for ICCAW (Illinois Citizens for Clean Air and Water). Each week I scour for the most pertinent factory farm/industrial agriculture news including litigation, research, public health issues, other groups’ activities, Illinois news, and news from other states fighting CAFOs. The link to the article of interest is included with a much abbreviated description of the article. This saves time for those who receive a large volume of emails daily but keeps activists updated on action alerts, research, legislation, food safety issues, personal stories, and more. Our newsletter is regularly published in the Rock Island Times Newspaper in Illinois!
People are welcome to join our ICCAW list serve which will send one condensed newsletter each week. Our Socially Responsible Agriculture Project  is proud to have a new website. We are working to reclaim agriculture  with MMPUs (Mobile Meat Processing Units) which are mobile units on wheels  that allow small and medium producers to process meat onsite. These units, which have been approved with a patent by the USDA of allowing producers to market sustainable produced meat to local consumers.

What impact did TEDxManhattan have on your work?
TEDxManhattan assisted me in my own credibility as a citizen, teacher and activist in the eyes of the media, the general public and also in the scrutinizing eyes of the industrial agricultural advocates! I have also had excellent feedback since I spoke about factory farms on the TEDxManhattan stage. It is a gift that our TEDx talks continue to stay online and are readily available to continue sending our messages.

What else would you like to share with the TEDxManhattan audience?
We have come a long way during the past decade. Just remember we must keep teaching. Every decade we have before us an entirely new set of youth to educate about what matters most. What we say does not change much- the message is still the same- but is consistently a message delivered to a brand new audience that will someday change the world when we depart.

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Wenonah Hauter: Speaker Update

Wenonah Hauter

Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch, spoke at TEDxManhattan 2012 about the impacts of consolidation in the poultry industry. Below, an update on her work:

Wenonah has 104 events scheduled so far in 2013. She had 74 in the first half of the year and in that time traveled to at least:

  • 26 states
  • 58 cities, not including her trip to Paris, France.
  • churches, universities, bookstores, cafes, restaurants, community centers, farms, libraries, homes, offices, and theaters.

In the second half of 2013 she got to a meat processor, festivals, hotels, conferences, the Hammer Museum and Ireland.

She’s collaborated with other authors including Fred Kaufman and Marion Nestle as well as The Beard Foundation, Teaching for Change, Yeson522, Johns Hopkins and others.

Speaking at TEDxManhattan helped Wenonah get her book signing presentation formed and the video was a great aid when the book and the tour launched. It gave her exposure to new audiences and it got her scheduled at another TEDx in Montclair, NJ.

Wenonah finds that people are mad, they want to get the word out about what happened to their food, they are enthusiastic for Foodopoly and appreciative for Wenonah’s effort and they are always in awe of all that she knows.

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David Wallinga: Speaker Update

David Wallinga

David Wallinga, Founder and Executive Director of Healthy Food Action, spoke at TEDxManhattan 2012 on antibiotic use in animals.

What have been the most exciting developments in your work since TEDxManhattan?
Most exciting is that healthy food action is now its own entity. Given the gridlock over the farm bill, it’s clearer than even before how much the country needs a strong, active voice of health professionals calling for a healthy, sustainable food system!

Where can we learn more about your work going forward?
Follow us on twitter, @food_dr and @HFAction, and also on Facebook. Or sign up for the network at www.healthyfoodaction.org.

What impact did TEDxManhattan have on your work?
TEDxManhattan energized me and my work. I felt more than ever on the cusp of hip, happening, important movement — a true change in the way people think, work and act, with respect to their food and where it comes from.

What else would you like to share with the TEDxManhattan audience?
How many times have you had a co-pay and felt like you didn’t get your money’s worth? Well, we need you to invest in healthy food action as we try and create leadership for healthier food systems. In the battle of health professionals vs. McDonald’s, Hormel and Coca Cola, we’re outspent and outmarketed. Help us even the scales by investing $10 in healthier food systems, at healthyfoodaction.org.

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Fred Kirschenmann: Speaker Update

Fred Kirschenmann

Fred Kirschenmann, of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, spoke at TEDxManhattan 2012 about soil, “from dirt to lifeline.”  As he told us, he is continuing to work on the issue of soil health.

What have been the most exciting developments in your work since TEDxManhattan?
To me, the most exciting development is the great work that the natural Resources Conservation Service, under the leadership of Ray Archuleta, is doing regarding Soil Health.  Including cover crops in typical cropping systems, as Ray is promoting, is making a huge difference.   Here is a link to part of the story.

What are your biggest plans for the 2nd half of 2013?
Recently, in connection with my work with the Stone Barns Center in NY, I have become involved with a group of chefs, plant breeders and health care professionals who are beginning to collaborate to learn from each other to achieve a common purpose – developing a healthier, better tasting, more resilient food system.   Very fascinating conversations.  Daphne Miller’s new book, Farmacology, is a good example of the kind of innovative ideas that can come from such collaborations.

Where can we learn more about your work going forward?
The Leopold Center’s web site at www.leopold.iastate.edu.

What impact did TEDxManhattan have on your work?
It created more interest in the importance of soil for a general audience.  Deborah Garcia’s documentary, The Symphony of the Soil, will make a huge contribution in that regard.

What else would you like to share with the TEDxManhattan audience?
I think seeing the very early beginnings of professionals getting out of their own “silos” and connecting with professionals from other disciplines to solve common problems is very exciting, and the kind of marriage of agriculture and the arts represented by productions like Garcia’s documentary is especially inspiring.

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Maisie Ganzler: Speaker Update

Maisie Ganzler

Maisie Ganzler (formerly Greenawalt), Vice President of Strategy at Bon Appétit Management Co., spoke at TEDxManhattan 2013 about “how the humane sausage gets made.”  She updated us on the company’s efforts to encourage more humane treatment of animals and to combat food waste.

What have been the most exciting developments in your work since TEDxManhattan?
Related to my TEDxManhattan talk, we’re supporting the World Society for the Protection of Animals USA’s Choose Cage-free campaign to get other businesses to switch to cage-free eggs. They shot a short video about why Bon Appétit Management Company has been using 100% cage-free shell eggs since 2005.

Next, I’m really pleased that we’re partnering with a lot of food recovery programs through the efforts of BAMCO Foundation Fellow Claire Cummings, our resident food waste expert. We have a national partnership with Feeding America, the largest hunger relief organization in the country, to pilot their new perishable food recovery program. Since launching the pilot in April, Bon Appétit cafés at corporate and education accounts have donated more than 2,245 pounds of food, which is the equivalent of 1,871 meals, and the program is rapidly expanding to Bon Appétit cafés in cities across the country. Claire has also collaborated with the student-run Food Recovery Network to release a great new guide (PDF) for chefs and managers on how to launch food recovery programs at universities everywhere.

We’ve had a great year for recognition. Fast Company put us on 2013′s Most Innovative Companies in Food list. On the education side, of the 60 schools named on Daily Meal’s Best College Food 2013 list, we feed 13, and four of the 12 schools on Princeton Review’s Best College Food 2013 list (registration required). On the corporate side, our Starbucks headquarters location was named Business & Industry Innovator of 2013 by Food Management.

What are your biggest plans going forward?
If you watched my talk, you know that finding sources for pork products that come from sows not confined in gestation crates hasn’t been easy. So I am very pleased to announce we’ve been able to switch to gestation-crate-free bacon. We’ve also embarked on a companywide sodium-reduction campaign.

Where can we learn more about your work going forward?
I blog occasionally for the Huffington Post, but not necessarily about what we’re doing. Our company news and Facebook page are probably the best sources!

What impact did TEDxManhattan have on your work?
I was really struck by Anna Lappé’s talk about junk-food marketing to kids. We feed primarily adults, both university students and corporate employees, and we’re constantly trying to find ways to reach our guests about making healthy choices when eating, whether at school or work or at home. Her talk made me realize what we’re up against!

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Chef Bill Yosses: Speaker Update

Bill Yosses

White House Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses spoke at TEDxManhattan 2013 about “Food Physics,” telling us, “If pastry chefs are worried that the amount of fat and sugar we’re consuming is a problem, then we really have a problem.”  He recently updated us.

What have been the most exciting developments in your work since TEDxManhattan?
The best part has been the connections I have made with people who have seen the talk and contacted me. David Binkle of the Los Angeles Unified School System for one. He is the Food Director and has done a great job of changing the school lunch program there, it is really a model for the country. [Note: David will speak at TEDxManhattan 2014.] Also Liz Williams of the Southern Food and Beverage Institute held a Farm to Table symposium in New Orleans and they are doing great things in Louisiana.

Where can we learn more about your work going forward?
The websites for www.letsmove.gov, ahealthieramerica.org, www.spoonsacrossamerica.com

What impact did TEDxManhattan have on your work?
I was amazed at the attendance and the reach of the talks.  They have a huge and influential audience.

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Anna Lappé: Speaker Update

Anna Lappé

Anna Lappé, founding principal of the Small Planet Institute and Project Director at Food Mythbusters, spoke at TEDxManhattan 2013 about food marketing to children.  She told us about the latest Food Mythbusters video, which also deals with the food industry’s efforts to target kids, as well as her other work:

What have been the most exciting developments in your work since TEDxManhattan?
[We’ve launched] our next mythbusting movie based on the themes of my TEDxManhattan talk. People can see the full movie and learn how to get involved.

What are your biggest plans for the 2nd half of 2013?
We’re launching a big sustainable food movie contest in October 2013. Anyone can participate and the movies will be judged by an A-list crew–including Michael Pollan, Padma Lakshmi, and Robby Kenner.

Where can we learn more about your work going forward?
People can sign up for our newsletter at www.realfoodmedia.org to get the latest info on our projects. Or connect with me on Twitter @annalappe.

What impact did TEDxManhattan have on your work?
I’ve heard from people all around the world who’ve seen my TEDxManhattan talk. I think the message resonated with so many moms and dads who had a gut sense that something was wrong but who hadn’t understood the extent of marketing before. It’s been amazing and so gratifying. People are getting fired up to take action to fight back against unfettered marketing of junk food and soda to kids.

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Wayne Pacelle: Speaker Update

Wayne Pacelle

President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States Wayne Pacelle spoke at TEDxManhattan 2012 about the treatment of farm animals. He updated us on his work.

What have been the most exciting developments in your work since TEDxManhattan?
Our farm animal protection campaign has achieved some major successes since I spoke. We persuaded more than 60 of the world’s largest food companies—including McDonald’s, Costco, Oscar Mayer, and dozens more—to eliminate gestation crates from their supply chains.  We also passed a law in Rhode Island banning gestation crates, veal crates, and dairy cow tail docking.  Canada’s National Farm Animal Care Council has recommended a phase-out of gestation crates as well.

What are your biggest plans for the 2nd half of 2013?
We’re working hard in Canada to achieve a nationwide ban on gestation crates following the National Farm Animal Care Council’s release in June  of a proposal that would do just that.  We anticipate a fight in the state legislatures against those seeking to criminalize whistleblowing on factory farms with the introduction of “ag-gag” bills —and after successfully defeating all eleven bills that were introduced this year, we’re confident that we’ll do so again in the second half of the year.  We’re building strong opposition to Rep. Steve King’s dangerous amendment to the Farm Bill, which could repeal all the state laws against puppy mills, shark finning, the extreme confinement of farm animals, the slaughter and sale of meat from horses, and laws that protect workers, the environment, and consumers. And we also plan to override New Jersey Governor Christie’s veto of our gestation crate bill, which overwhelmingly passed the legislature in May.

Where can we learn more about your work going forward?
We have a ton of resources on our website, www.humanesociety.org, and I encourage you and the TEDxManhattan audience to subscribe to my blog.

What impact did TEDxManhattan have on your work?

It reminded me of the breadth of opposition to factory farming.  It’s an issue of animal welfare, public health, personal health, environmental protection, and the health of rural communities.

What else would you like to share with the TEDxManhattan audience?
This is an issue that touches every one of us.  We have power to change the food production system by making conscious choices about food and getting involved in broader, collective efforts to drive long-overdue reforms.

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Peter Lehner: Speaker Update

Peter Lehner

NRDC Executive Director Peter Lehner spoke at TEDxManhattan 2013 about food waste.  Since then NRDC has continued to raise awareness about this issue, as well as other ways in which our food system impacts the environment.  Peter’s colleague Dana Gunders recently spoke at an event in New York, “Food Waste Free NYC,” which you can watch online.

What have been the most exciting developments in your work since TEDxManhattan?
We held our annual Growing Green Awards and named four outstanding winners.

What are your biggest plans for the 2nd half of 2013?
At the end of August, we released a comprehensive peer-reviewed Crop Insurance study laying out the evidence that American farmers who invest in soil health are lower risks to crop insurance companies because these farmers are far more resilient to extreme weather. NRDC’s new report proposes a pilot blueprint for resilient farming by adjusting crop insurance premiums to better reflect the actuarial value of healthy soil. We also have developed an interactive online tool, detailing county-by-county crop loss snapshots revealing the magnitude of crop loss in 2012 across all states and what extreme weather events caused those losses.

We also released a report in mid-September that is a collaboration with the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic to investigate the truth behind the date labels on food. The report exposes the ineffectiveness of the current system, recommending a more clearly communicated system of dating. Up to 90% of consumers are misinterpreting date labels, causing them to throw food away out of concern for its safety when in fact, it is still safe to eat.  In the spirit of designing waste out of our food system, clarifying and standardizing the date labels on foods is a great opportunity for improvement.

Where can we learn more about your work going forward?
You can learn more about NRDC’s work to improve the food system at www.nrdc.org/food, and follow us on Twitter @NRDCFood or Facebook.

What impact did TEDxManhattan have on your work?
TEDxManhattan was a great way to articulate a new way of thinking about how to design waste out of our food system.

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David McInerney: Speaker Update

David McInerney

FreshDirect co-founder David McInerney spoke in 2013 about the role of the retailer in making sure food tastes great.  These efforts continue, with a special focus on kids’ health, as he told us in a recent Q&A:

What have been the most exciting developments in your work since TEDxManhattan?
Since TEDxManhattan, all of us at FreshDirect have been continuing our mission to change the relationship people have with Food, Freshness and Farmers. Part of our commitment to changing the way people eat is to help create access to fresh, healthy foods, particularly in food deserts and among our urban youth.  Throughout the 2013 school year, we supplied nutritious, quality meals to the Sustainability Workshop School in Philadelphia as a part of their school lunch program. Since starting the school lunch program, the students at the Sustainability Workshop have consumed 25 percent more vegetables and 40 percent more fruits than ever before. FreshDirect also acknowledges the hurdles low income neighborhoods face with regard to accessing fresh, high quality foods. In order to help combat this challenge, FreshDirect has piloted the first online EBT program in the Bronx. Recently, I’m proud to say that we completed our inaugural Green Angel Fund Challenge, an urban agriculture-focused competition between two high schools: the Sustainability Workshop School in Philadelphia run by Simon Hauger, and the John V. Lindsay Wildcat Charter School in the Bronx run by Marc Donald with support provided by Stephen Ritz of the Green Bronx Machine. The schools were guided by farmer mentors that we source from and competed to develop the nation’s most innovative hydroponic garden based on yield and eco-friendly design.  The challenge allowed farmers and urban students to team up to develop solutions to these problems by developing models for sustainable urban agriculture. The teamwork was mutually beneficial; the farmers help the students by imparting knowledge and expertise to them about best farming practices before they develop their models and the students benefit farmers by creating new models that will produce a yield and help to increase the demand for fresh foods in the inner-city.

What are your biggest plans for the 2nd half of 2013?
We have a lot of exciting initiatives happening at the moment. Currently, we are highlighting healthy, exotic, and in some cases, one-of-a-kind fruit options, to replace sweet and processed snacks through our Sweet and Simple campaign. As part of my taste crusade, we’ve been highlighting things like CandyCots – an apricot that is sweeter than candy, plumogranates, peach pie peaches, finger limes and Cotton Candy Grapes will be in the spotlight throughout the campaign.  For each fruit highlighted, customers can learn about the nutritional details and benefits, farms they are sourced from, fun facts and recipe ideas, making sweet, fresh options a simple choice this summer.  We are asking customers to think to themselves “what if my kids never ate actual cotton candy or other processed candies and instead begged me for grapes and apricots?” With nearly 24 million children between the ages of two and 19 characterized as overweight or obese and 150 million adults in the same condition,  we think fruit options like these can help change the way we all view what tastes good, and most importantly, help lead to a healthier future.
I have also been taking some incredible trips meeting with farmers, fisherman and ranchers around the world to learn more about issues affecting our food industry and our farmers.  From learning about Fair Trade bananas in Ecuador to more about seafood sustainability through sourcing Gulf Shrimp in New Orleans, our goal is to help educate our customers about food issues and food choices and make sure we are sourcing from the best possible farmers, fisherman and ranchers out there.

Where can we learn more about your work going forward?
We try to keep our customers as up-to-date and educated about everything we’re working on through FreshDirect.com, through email blasts, and through all of our social media channels, including our facebook and twitter page and our blog.  We also encourage you to check out our YouTube channel, which we consistently update with new videos on everything from my trips around the world, to a spotlight on our local farmers. We’re always creating new ways to learn more about our commitment to change the relationship people have with food, farmers and freshness.

What impact did TEDxManhattan have on your work?
TEDxManhattan has provided us with an incredible platform to champion our commitment to raise American’s standards in the taste of Fresh Healthy Food.  My letter to the editor on the topic was even featured in the Wall Street Journal.  We have not only made incredible contacts but have used the conference to help better communicate our commitment to change the way we eat to all of our customers. It truly has allowed us to as create heightened awareness about issues that plague our farmers and the food industry, and helped us change the conversation about how to create a healthier world and healthier future.

What else would you like to share with the TEDxManhattan audience?
Currently, we are working on developing a roundtable series that convenes 5-10 experts across a variety of industries surrounding controversial food topics During each roundtable session, we will convene national thought-leaders that represent different viewpoints on these key topics, who will each share their unique perspectives as well as pain points and concerns surrounding the issues at hand.  These thought-leaders will also share and vet best practices and ideas in order to address these important topics, all of which directly affect the health of consumers, animals and our farmers.  The goal of these roundtables will be to use the best minds to change industry standards and lead to a healthier future.

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Chef Ann Cooper: Speaker Update

Chef Ann Cooper

Though school is out for the summer, Chef Ann Cooper’s school food reform efforts never stop! Through her nonprofit Food Family Farming Foundation (F3), Chef Ann is working hard to update and expand The Lunch Box, a free, online toolkit to help schools transition to scratch cooking. Her first priority is the development of recipes that meet the new USDA guidelines. She’ll upload them in an explodable format that makes menu planning easy for schools. She’s also working with the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition to conduct an evaluation of the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools program to determine what barriers are keeping schools from bringing salad bars into their cafeterias. To date, F3 has impacted over 800 U.S. school districts and 1,385,112 schoolchildren.

Named one of Greatist.com’s “Top 15 Crusaders for Health in America’s Food Industry” for 2013 (alongside the likes of Jamie Oliver and Michelle Obama), Chef Ann is taking her message across the country in July. She’s speaking at the School Nutrition Association’s annual conference and The Edible Schoolyard’s and FoodCorp’s “Fellows in the Field” conference. To learn more about Chef Ann’s work, you can read her recent blog post at FoodTank or watch her 2013 TEDxManhattan talk.

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Paul Lightfoot: Speaker Update

Paul Lightfoot

Since BrightFarms CEO Paul Lightfoot gave his TEDxManhattan talk in January 2012, our greenhouse for McCaffrey’s Market is up and running in Yardley, PA! We’re well on our way to scaling up local food and bringing the farmer’s market to the supermarket. We’re growing local produce year-round for McCaffrey’s customers at our 56,000 square foot greenhouse, half a mile from the closest store. We’re currently growing salad greens (Spring Mix, Baby Arugula, Baby Kale, and Asian Greens) and tomatoes (Grape, Beefsteak, and Tomatoes on the Vine). We’re also delivering produce from this greenhouse to our retail partner A&P, delivering to their stores across the Tri-State area (see store locator).

Our hydroponic greenhouse conserves land and water, eliminates agricultural runoff, and reduces greenhouse gas emission from transportation. We’re also using integrated pest management (IPM). We have not sprayed any chemical pesticides on our salad greens and have not sprayed any fungicides on our tomatoes.  Plus, the farm has created 14 full-time green-collar jobs for local farmers, keeping more local dollars in the community.

Since Paul’s talk, BrightFarms has partnered with 7 major supermarkets chains and has 7 commercial-scale greenhouses in development in Saint Paul, Saint Louis, Oklahoma City, Kansas City, Washington D.C., Indianapolis, and Chicago. BrightFarms has raised over $10 million in equity and has $100 million in contracted backlog.  Fast Company named BrightFarms one of the world’s top 10 most innovative food companies and Oprah Magazine’s list of “50 Things That Will Make You Say Wow!

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Fred Bahnson: Speaker Update

Fred Bahnson

2013 speaker Fred Bahnson‘s book, Soil and Sacrament: A Spiritual Memoir of Food and Faith, was published by Simon & Schuster on August 6th. He told us a bit about it:

Much of the material from my TEDx Manhattan talk came from a book I’ve been writing for the past several years, Soil and Sacrament: A Spiritual Memoir of Food and Faith. I’ve had a stellar team: friends, family, fellow writers, advance readers, my agent, two senior editors, copy editors, publicists, marketing folks, reviewers, cheerleaders, little old church ladies, a reclusive writer-fisherman from Montana whose books I love, and even the former Archbishop of Canterbury all lent a hand. I’m overwhelmed, really, when I think of how many people have put something of themselves into this book. I’m deeply grateful to them all. It says “memoir” in the subtitle (my publisher’s choice), but really this book is not about me. It’s about a much larger vision of which God is the author and I am only a scribe. The many hands who’ve touched this book, and the many people about whom I write within its pages, are part of that vision, too.

You can read an excerpt of Chapter 1, along with an author interview, in the summer issue of Image. A number of fine writers have already endorsed the book, and it’s received stellar reviews from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus (starred review). NPR, Religion News Service, and ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) have all asked to do stories on the book. This little craft is ready to begin making its way down the river.

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Tama Matsuoka Wong: Speaker Update

Tama Matsuoka Wong

2013 speaker Tama Matsuoka Wong was profiled in July on NJ.com.  Read the article or watch the accompanying video to get an update from this “professional forager, weed eater, meadow doctor and mother of three.”  The article details her journey from lawyer to forager, and how she forged a partnership with Eddy Leroux, the chef de cuisine at Michelin-starred restaurant Daniel in New York, with whom she’s written a book, Foraged Flavor.  Tama talked about foraging for edible plants in her popular TEDxManhattan talk last February.

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Elizabeth Ü: Speaker Update

Elizabeth Ü

2011 speaker Elizabeth Ü, Executive Director of Finance for Food, has a new book, Raising Dough: a Complete Guide to Financing a Socially Responsible Food Business, that will be published in July. She provides an update below. Her talk is available here.

The book has a compelling foreword by Michael Shuman, attorney and local economist extraordinaire, and author of many books, including his most recent Local Dollars, Local Sense: How to Shift Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street and Achieve Real Prosperity.

Many thanks to the 11th Hour Project, whose generous financial support made this book possible, and also to the Food & Community Fellowship program (funded by the WK Kellogg and Woodcock Foundations), and GRACE Communications Foundation for their support in taking this book from an idea to a reality.

There are several ways that you can pre-order Raising Dough, including some discounted options. Everyone seems to asks me if they can get it from Amazon, so I’m glad that my recent article on Civil Eats, Buy Local: It’s Not Just About Food, has been making the rounds… please support your local, independent booksellers! If your organization works with entrepreneurs in communities that have not traditionally had access to financing education or other resources, please contact me about accessing very steep discounts on bulk orders and/or workshops. Ebooks aren’t available yet, but they should be ready at about the same time Raising Dough hard copies reach the shelves (July).

Presidio Graduate School will be using Raising Dough as a required text for its MBA curriculum, and I hope other business schools will follow suit; educators can request free examination copies directly from Chelsea Green Publishing. Students, thanks for helping get the word out to your professors about this very comprehensive text, which covers a lot of financing resources that the “usual” textbooks don’t touch.

The past few months have also brought me to conferences in Virginia, Florida, British Columbia, and right here in California. There’s a full list of my past and future workshops and speaking events here, and now that the book is done, I hope to be giving quite a bit more workshops around the country, including “train the trainer” type workshops for organizations and people who work with food entrepreneurs, from funders to financiers to business networks to USDA field offices and beyond. If you organize or attend conferences that would benefit from a workshop on financing food businesses, please let me know so I can be a part of it!

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Curt Ellis: Speaker Update

Curt Ellis

Curt Ellis spoke at TEDxManhattan 2011 about the launch of FoodCorps, the nationwide service program in which young leaders connect children to real food to help them grow up healthy.

What have been the most exciting developments in your work since TEDxManhattan?
FoodCorps is thriving––and growing like a weed. After our launch with 50 corps members in 10 states in 2011, we fielded a second class of 80 corps members and 12 second-year FoodCorps Fellows and grew to reach a dozen states in 2012. Our third class has just hit the field, and numbers 125 corps members and 15 Fellows now serving 15 states. We’re thrilled to be now serving more than 300 schools helping teach children what healthy food is, give them opportunities to grow and taste it in school gardens, and making sure they have regular daily access to it in farm-fresh school lunches. We couldn’t do it without the passion and talent of our corps members, the wisdom of our community partners, and the generosity of our supporters.

Where can we learn more about your work going forward?
Visit FoodCorps online at www.foodcorps.org, like us on Facebook, and follow us @foodcorps.

What impact did TEDxManhattan have on your work?

TEDxManhattan was a tremendous launch platform for FoodCorps. What started as an idea shared from the stage––a Peace Corps for food––has become one of the fastest-growing organizations in our field, and the starting place for some of the most promising new leaders in food, farming and health.

What else would you like to share with the TEDxManhattan audience?
We hope you’ll join our mailing list at www.foodcorps.org and learn how you can volunteer in a school garden and help advocate for healthy, sustainably grown food in schools.

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Cara Rosaen: Speaker Update

Cara Rosaen

As TEDxManhattan approaches, we are checking in with past speakers to get an update on their work. Below, 2012 TEDxManhattan speaker Cara Rosaen, Co-Founder of the crowd-sourced nationwide food guide RealTimeFarms.com, brings us up to date. 

RealTimeFarms.com, the first crowd-sourced food guide to farms, farmers markets, and food artisans has now partnered with Food52.com, the first ever crowd-sourced and curated cooking site. Real Time Farms will continue to exist as a stand alone site, and the data will also be integrated into Food52 to empower their nearly 900,000 monthly unique visitors (mostly home cooks) to make informed decisions about what they eat. We needed a way to expand our reach from our own site, and take all of this data we had collected over the past 3 years, and make it really relevant and applicable to people on a daily basis. Our partnership will allow us this possibility.

In efforts to further expand the documentation of our food web, we made our national Food Warrior Internship Program curricula available for free to the public. If you’re interested in running your own program, you can get all the materials you’ll need here.

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Marianne Cufone: Speaker Update

Marianne Cufone

As TEDxManhattan approaches, we are checking in with past speakers to get an update on their work, and to see what excites them about TEDxManhattan 2013.  Below, Marianne Cufone, Executive Director of Recirculating Farms Coalition, brings us up to date.  Marianne spoke at TEDxManhattan 2012 about RFC’s work to support building eco-friendly farms that use clean recycled water to grow local, accessible, fresh food and create stable green jobs.

We’ve had an amazing year at the Recirculating Farms Coalition. Nationwide, recirculating farming is catching on as a sustainable way to grow healthy fresh food and create stable green jobs. New farms are literally sprouting up on rooftops, side lots and even in formerly abandoned buildings. Our farmers are transforming once blighted properties into edible green spaces, creating beautiful, safe outdoor places and good food in areas where it is most needed.

Our plan to build a premier research and training facility to showcase and teach various methods of recirculating farming: hydroponics (growing plants in nutrient rich water), aquaculture (raising fish) and aquaponics (a combination of growing plants and raising fish in one system) in New Orleans, Louisiana is on the move! We’ve received so much support – from donations of time and talent to capital for building – our Growing Local urban food and farm center was formally announced on National Food Day (October 22, 2012). Learn more here about all the exciting plans as it goes forward! You can also check in on Facebook and Twitter too to stay up on all our news.

We here at RFC are most excited about Dr. Annemarie Colbin being a speaker this year at TEDx Manhattan. Her program at the Natural Gourmet Institute in NY has meaning for us both personally, and professionally: Dr. Colbin’s culinary classes promote using fresh, sustainably produced, healthy food as a way to achieve holistic health, something RFC strongly supports as well and our Executive Director, Marianne Cufone is a graduate of the Natural Gourmet culinary program.

Dr. Colbin has more than 30 years’ experience cooking and teaching the effects of food on health – which highlights something we in the U.S. often forget – you really ARE what you eat. And what we eat impacts our planet, as well as our bodies. It’s that connection between food and health that inspired the Recirculating Farms Coalition to reach out to communities nationwide to teach recirculating farming – using nutrient rich water to grow healthy, fresh food in places where traditional soil growing might not be possible – on rooftops, paved lots and places where soil is too contaminated for farming. Grow new farms and farmers using innovative sustainable farming techniques means more access to healthy fresh food for consumers – and thus healthier people – and a healthier planet too. Thanks Dr. Annemarie Colbin for the valuable lessons in good food and good health – we are sharing them widely, with great success!

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Frederick Kaufman: Speaker Update

Frederick Kaufman

As TEDxManhattan approaches, we are checking in with past speakers to get an update on their workBelow, Frederick Kaufman, a contributing editor at Harper’s and a professor at the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism, updates us on his new book.  At TEDxManhattan 2011, Frederick spoke about research projects aimed at developing metrics to define what sustainable food is.

Food journalist and 2011 TEDxManhattan speaker Frederick Kaufman has written Bet the Farm: How Food Stopped Being Food, published in October 2012.  In the last half decade, the world has seen two devastating spikes in the price of food, and a third may be on the way. In 2008 and 2010, farmers gathered record wheat harvests, yet more people starved than ever before—and most of them were farmers. How is that possible?  In Bet the Farm, Harper’s magazine contributing editor Frederick Kaufman investigates the hidden connection between global food and global finance by asking the simple question:  Why can’t delicious, inexpensive, and healthy food be available to everyone on Earth? Like a detective intent on solving a mystery, Kaufman travels from the corporate headquarters of Domino’s Pizza and Tyson Foods to Wal-Mart’s sustainability research center, to mega-farms and organic farms and numerous genetic modification laboratories. Kaufman goes to Rome to the meeting of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, and finally ends up on Wall Street and the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, where he discovers the answer to the riddle. His investigation reveals that money pouring into the global derivatives market in grain futures is having astonishing consequences that reach far beyond your dinner table, including the Arab Spring, bankrupt farmers, starving masses, and armies of scientists creating new GMO foods with U.S. marketing and shipping needs in mind instead of global nutrition. Our food is getting less healthy, less delicious, and more expensive even as the world’s biggest food companies and food scientists say things are better than ever and that the rest of us should leave it to them to feed the world.  Readers of Bet the Farm will glimpse the power behind global food and understand what truly supports the system that has brought mass misery to our planet.

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Howard Hinterthuer: Speaker Update

Howard Hinterthuer

As TEDxManhattan approaches, we are checking in with past speakers to get an update on their work.  Below, Howard Hintertheur, last year’s TEDxManhattan Challenge winner, brings us up to date on the Organic Therapy Program at Milwaukee’s Center for Veterans Issues.  Howard spoke about the project at TEDxManhattan 2012.

The Organic Therapy Program (OTP) at the Center for Veterans Issues continued to expand this season with five new raised beds, expanded participation by formerly homeless veterans in planning and gardening, and testing. We thought it would be helpful to administer “pre-testing” as the season began and again toward harvest time. The goal is to identify changes across a range of self-reported behaviors and feelings.

The OTP is about to take a quantum leap forward with the help of a sizable grant from the Ceres Foundation. We’re looking at:

– Supplying the salad greens required year ‘round by the MCFI (Milwaukee Center for Independence) food service training program run out of our kitchen at Veterans Manor.

– Supplying the salad greens required year ‘round in the Vets Place Central (transitional housing) Mess Hall, plus other vegetables on a (expanded) seasonal basis.

– Supplying the salad greens required year ‘round at Troop Café, the retail restaurant at Veterans Manor run by vets. It serves the food desert area surrounding Vets Place Central and Veterans Manor.

– Making this effort a “jobs training program,” with a focus on aquaponics utilizing a state-of-the-art system based on research conducted by the Sweet Water Foundation.

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Gary Oppenheimer: Speaker Update

Gary Oppenheimer

As TEDxManhattan approaches, we are checking in with past speakers to get an update on their work, and to see what excites them about TEDxManhattan 2013.  Below, Gary Oppenheimer, Executive Director and founder of AmpleHarvest.org, brings us up to date.  Gary spoke at TEDxManhattan 2012 about AmpleHarvest.org, which connects 40+ million Americans with excess food in their garden and local food pantries.

AmpleHarvest.org has continued to increase its footprint across America – now enabling nearly 6,000 food pantries across all 50 states to be “visible” to growers in the community who have excess food to donate.  Our work has been supported by the White House… including First Lady Michelle Obama speaking about it as well as highlighting it in her book “American Grown.”  I was invited by the House Hunger Caucus to present AmpleHarvest.org to the House of Representatives.   AmpleHarvest.org is being replicated with our assistance in other countries globally, each taking the model and making it unique to their own food bank network as well as their individual cultural and legal systems.  Lastly, I received the Elfenworks “In Harmony With Hope” award in September for creating AmpleHarvest.org.

As for who impresses me the most [among this year’s speakers],  Anna Lappé, because we both speak from the intersection of hunger and the environment…. communicating that the health of the people and the health of the planet are intertwined.  My argument is that freely available but wasted fresh food deprives people of the nutrition needed to be healthy while at the same time burdening the planet with waste and methane…. harming the planet and ultimately further impacting the people on it.

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