Tag Archives: speaker profiles

TEDxManhattan Speaker Profile: Saru Jayaraman, ROC United

rsz_saruhighresWe’re introducing the 2014 TEDxManhattan speakers through a series of Q&A’s on the Ecocentric blog.  Today, we hear from Saru Jayaraman, Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United).

TEDxManhattan Speaker Profile: Lance Price

LBP_Smile_smaller_1We’re introducing the 2014 TEDxManhattan speakers through a series of Q&A’s on the Ecocentric blog.  Today, meet Lance Price, Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health at the George Washington University School of Public Health.

TEDxManhattan Speaker Profile: Alison Cayne

AliSchneider-HavensKitchenWe’re introducing the 2014 TEDxManhattan speakers through a series of Q&A’s on the Ecocentric blog. Meet Alison Cayne, Founder of Haven’s Kitchen, an NYC cooking school and specialty food shop.

TEDxManhattan Speaker Profile: Myra Goodman

myra1We’re introducing the 2014 TEDxManhattan speakers through a series of Q&A’s on the Ecocentric blog.  Meet Myra Goodman, co-founder of Earthbound Farm and author of the soon-to-be-released cookbook, Straight from the Earth – Irresistible Vegan Recipes for Everyone.

TEDxManhattan Speaker Profile: Clint Smith

Clint SmithWe’re introducing the 2014 TEDxManhattan speakers through a series of Q&A’s on the Ecocentric blog.  Meet Clint Smith, an English teacher at Parkdale High School in Prince George’s County, MD.  Clint is also an Individual World Poetry Slam finalist and was a member of Washington D.C.’s 2012 & 2013 National Slam Poetry Teams.

TEDxManhattan Speaker Profile: Michael Rozyne

As TEDxManhattaMichaelRozynen approaches, we’ve asked this year’s speakers to introduce themselves by answering a few questions.  Today we feature Michael Rozyne, Executive Director of Red Tomato, which connects farmers and consumers through marketing, trade, and education, and through a passionate belief that a family-farm, locally-based, ecological, fair trade food system is the way to a better tomato.

1) What’s the topic you’ll be speaking about?
The current food system isn’t built for local, no matter how much consumers demand it.  Why not?  Logistics!

 2) Why is this important?
Without the right logistics, our region’s best produce won’t make it to markets where people shop. It won’t be competitive enough. This explains why millions of Northeasterners can’t find or afford a juicy, locally-grown tomato, even at peak season. And it means that a substantial portion of the people wanting locally-grown fruits and vegetables will be unsatisfied, if not frustrated, and will not, collectively, turn into the economic force they might to strengthen farms and cause new ones to be born.

3) Are there other projects you’re also passionate about right now – either yours or someone else’s?
Yes. It’s a subject we refer to at Red Tomato as The Truth of the Middle conversation. I’m paying a lot of attention these days to the extreme language and logic that characterizes the national talk about food, farms, and the environment. For example, the conversations about honey bees and colony collapse disorder, or the health dangers of consuming GMO foods—take place often at the all bad, all good level. Both ends of the discussion use science as their proof, but not always responsibly. And the internet doesn’t help truth or reason emerge—it provides a comfortable skrim for people to hide behind, or stay in a circular conversation only with people who agree with them. I think these difficult conversations are best had eyeball to eyeball. It’s made me very curious about the science of how we learn, listen (if at all), make up our minds, and how brains work. I especially enjoyed reading The Righteous Mind by TED talkster Jonathan Haidt. It’s impacting how I think about communicating, and listening, and collaborating.

4) Which other 2014 TEDxManhattan speakers are you excited about hearing?
Nikki Henderson of Peoples Grocery and Virginia Clarke of SAFSF are colleagues of Red Tomato, and I admire their work. Myra Goodman started and runs a company and brand I’ve watched for many years—I look forward to the Earthbound story. Lance Price’s subject—antibiotic resistance– is of great interest to me. I bet Clint Smith and Martha Redbone will be inspiring too. The whole list looks mighty inspiring!

5) Where can more information about your project be found?
Our website is full of info, profiles and video about our eco programs and the farmers we work with; Facebook and Twitter have all the latest, including blog posts from our staff.  We’ve been featured in a number of case studies in the past couple of years, including Harvard Business School; USDA Know Your Farmer Know Your Food; and University of Wisconsin.  You can find links to those and more on our website Resources page. In her book Raising Dough, [2011 TEDxManhattan speaker] Elizabeth U talks about our unique non-profit/market-based hybrid model.

TEDxManhattan Speaker Profile: Steve Wing

Steve Wing

Steve Wing

As TEDxManhattan approaches, we’ve asked this year’s speakers to introduce themselves by answering a few questions. Today we feature Steve Wing, Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the University of North Carolina School of Public Health.

1) What’s the topic you’ll be speaking about?

Environmental health impacts of industrial farm animal production.

2) Why do you feel this is important?

Most meat, milk and eggs come from factory farms that pollute the environment and impact the health of farmworkers and people living nearby.  Factory farms also pollute larger regions and release greenhouse gases that cause climate change.  Raising awareness about the negative impacts of industrial farm animal production can help build a movement for a healthier food system.

3) Are there other projects you’re also passionate about right now?

I work on other health and environmental issues related to agriculture, waste, and energy including sewage sludge and nuclear radiation.

4) Where can more information about your project be found?

See this article from The Environmental Factor, published monthly by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).

Steve Wing received his Ph.D. in epidemiology from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he is currently an associate professor.  Recent work has focused on environmental injustice and health effects of ionizing radiation, industrial animal production, sewage sludge, and landfills.  He has collaborated on health and exposure studies with communities and workers impacted by threats to environmental and occupational health.

TEDxManhattan Speaker Profile: Anna Lappe

Anna Lappe

Anna Lappé

As TEDxManhattan approaches, we’ve asked this year’s speakers to introduce themselves by answering a few questions.  Today we feature national bestselling author Anna Lappé, a founding principal of the Small Planet Institute.

Join Anna on a special TEDxManhattan Twitter chat on Jan. 24 at 4 pm!  We’ll be using the hashtag #TEDxMan.

1) What’s the topic you’ll be speaking about?

I’m going to be talking about the 2 billion dollars spent every year by the food industry to hook kids and teens on high-fat, high-salt, high-cholesterol foods–and what we can do about it.

Consider that the Corn Refiners Association (makers of high-fructose corn syrup) spent as much as $20 million in 2008 in a public relations campaign about the “natural goodness” of HFCS, including television ads aimed at moms. To put that in perspective, that’s nine times more than what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention allocated that year for its entire 5-a-Day fruit and vegetable promotion program.

In this talk, I’m taking on the myth that those of us promoting broccoli and bananas are “food nannies” and that the growth in fast food is just a reflection of what consumers really want: I want to show just how much the food industry constructs demand and how, when given a real choice, kids, teens–all of us really–gravitate toward health and good nutrition–and broccoli.

2) Why do you feel this is important?

As a mom to two sprouting daughters who seem to eat their weight in food every day, I constantly think about the messages they’re getting about what foods are good for them. I’m up against a multi-billion dollar business–and some of the highest paid minds in advertising. A tall task. Luckily, there is a movement of people working to get the word out about what healthy food really looks like (hint: It’s not wrapped in a SpongeBob package) and protecting our kids from the most egregious marketing. Emerging across the country there are great examples of communities, kids, and teens spreading the good food gospel and promoting the kinds of policy changes that are transforming our food landscape.

3) Are there other projects you’re also passionate about right now?

Yes, getting passionate about the food marketing messages is part of my bigger passion project: exploring the big questions we have about our food and some of the biggest myths about sustainable food. I’m working on a series of “mythbusting” videos, the most recent one taking on the myth that we need GMOs, chemicals, and synthetic fertilizer to grow enough food to feed the world.

4) Which other TEDxManhattan speakers are you excited about hearing?

All of them. Seriously. This will be my first TEDx in the audience–so I’m excited to be there for it live–and so that someone other than my kids can hear it when I applaud.

I’m especially excited to see Ann Cooper–she is always a dynamo. If only she could bottle her energy and share it with the rest of us!  I’m also excited to hear Gary Hirschberg speak. I saw him talk about GMOs on Bill Maher and it was the single best segment I’d ever seen on the issue–and hilariously funny

5) Where can more information about your project be found?
People can find out more about my work at www.foodmyths.org   and www.smallplanet.org.

Anna Lappé is a national bestselling author and a founding principal of the Small Planet Institute and Small Planet Fund. Anna’s most recent book is Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do About It, named by Booklist and Kirkus as one of the best environmental books of the year. She is the co-author of Hope’s Edge, which chronicles social movements fighting hunger around the world, and Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen, with seasonal menus by chef Bryant Terry. A popular educator about sustainable food and farming, Anna has participated in hundreds of events, from hosting community dinners to delivering university keynotes to emceeing a food-focused fundraiser at Sotheby’s. She is currently the director of the Real Food Media Project, a new series of myth-busting videos about the real story of our food.

TEDxManhattan Speaker Profile: Peter Lehner

Peter Lehner

Peter Lehner

As TEDxManhattan approaches, we’ve asked this year’s speakers to introduce themselves by answering a few questions.  Today we feature Peter Lehner, Executive Director of NRDC.

1) What’s the topic you’ll be speaking about?

The extent of food waste in the United States. Here in the U.S., an astonishing 40 percent of the food that is grown, processed, and transported is lost and never consumed by people, with staggering implications for our use of water, energy, and chemicals.  Of course, food is not the only thing we waste at frightening levels, and by thinking of waste more broadly we can get some ideas of how to tackle food waste.

2) Why do you feel this is important?

In the U.S., agriculture accounts for over half the land area and 80% of water consumption.  No matter how sustainably we farm, if we’re not actually eating the food, it’s a terrible use of those resources.  Furthermore, one in six Americans is food insecure.  We produce enough food to feed every person in this country well and should be doing our best to make sure that happens.

3) Are there other projects you’re also passionate about right now?

Yes!  NRDC is launching a national initiative aimed at ending an era of antibiotic dependency in the domestic livestock industry. Approximately 80% of all antibiotics sold in the U.S. are routinely put into animal feed, primarily to compensate for crowded, unsanitary feedlot conditions and quicken animal growth. This practice of routine herd or flock-wide dosing of antibiotics breeds antibiotic resistant “superbugs” that now threaten the viability of crucial antibiotics used to treat human disease. NRDC is waging a multi-pronged campaign to end this practice, building on our historic litigation victory in Spring of 2012 against FDA over the agency’s failure to regulate drug use for food animals.  You might call this a waste of our very valuable antibiotics (especially when few new antibiotics are being developed).

4) Which other TEDxManhattan speakers are you excited about hearing?  

I’m particularly excited to hear presentations by Steve Wing and Maisie Greenawalt.  The community impact of factory farms is an issue of justice as much as it is of the environment, and it’s important to understand the challenges that progressive companies face when trying to implement good ideas at scale.

5) Where can more information about your project be found?

www.nrdc.org/food/wasted-food.asp

Peter Lehner is the Executive Director of NRDC and NRDC Action Fund. NRDC, one the nation’s leading environmental advocacy organizations with over 1.3 million members and activists and 430 staff in seven offices, works to protect people’s health and families, communities, jobs, and wild spaces by accelerating clean and efficient energy, transportation and protecting our oceans, waters and homes from pollution. He is responsible for guiding NRDC’s policy positions, advocacy strategies, communications plans, development and administration, and managing NRDC’s seven offices and for leading the Action Fund’s political activities.  Since Peter’s return to NRDC in 2006, NRDC has opened new offices in Beijing and Chicago, started the Center for Market Innovation, and expanded both its policy and communications capacity. Previously, Peter served as chief of the Environmental Protection Bureau of the New York State Attorney General’s office for eight years. He supervised all environmental litigation by the state, prosecuting a wide variety of polluters and developing innovative multi-state strategies targeting global warming, acid rain, and smog causing emissions. Peter previously served at NRDC as a senior attorney in charge of the water program. Before that, he created and led the environmental prosecution unit for New York City.  Peter holds an AB in philosophy and mathematics from Harvard College and is a graduate of Columbia University Law School, where he continues to teach environmental law. He also has extensive experience in sustainable farming and green business.

TEDxManhattan Speaker Profile: Fred Bahnson

Fred Bahnson

Fred Bahnson

As TEDxManhattan approaches, we’ve asked this year’s speakers to introduce themselves by answering a few questions.  Today we feature Fred Bahnson, a writer, educator, and permaculture gardener.

1) What’s the topic you’ll be speaking about?

My talk is called “Soil & Sacrament: Four Seasons Among the Keepers of the Earth,” which is based on the book I’ve just completed by the same title, due out in Aug. 2013 with Simon & Schuster. It’s about a journey I made in 2011 to four different agrarian faith communities. From Pentecostal coffee roasters to Jewish organic farmers to mushroom-growing monks, I tell the stories of a new faith-based food movement rising up across the land. Its adherents point all of us toward more holistic ways to eat. It’s a movement that looks less like a movement and more like ten thousand small acts of love. The cast of characters at this dinner table are people who know that to grow and share food is to enter a holy country.

And what a vast and compelling country it is, a place where American spirituality is discovering itself anew on the land. While the buy local, eat organic movement is increasingly in the public eye, the faith-based food movement remains virtually unknown. At times it intersects with its larger cousin, but mostly it charts a parallel course, comprised of people who’ve neither heard of TEDxManhattan nor set foot in Whole Foods. The stories I tell are about people who view soil as a sacrament—a physical reality that channels the divine presence—but who don’t fit the liberal/conservative mold. And who don’t much care about molds anyway.

2) Why do you feel this is important?

Because faith communities are the greatest untapped resource for social change in general and for the food movement in particular.

3) Are there other projects you’re also passionate about right now?

I’m particularly excited about a new project I’m directing at the School of Divinity at Wake Forest University. It’s called the Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative, and to my knowledge, it’s the first initiative of any divinity school in the country that focuses on food. Using food as a lens through which to view a wide array of interconnected challenges–hunger, obesity, climate change, energy use, an unraveling social fabric–our vision is to equip religious leaders to help their faith communities create more redemptive food economies. We’ve only just begun and already there is tremendous energy and momentum.

4) Which other TEDxManhattan speakers are you excited about hearing? Which talks from previous years did you particularly enjoy?

All of the speakers on the marquee look good this year. From last year I especially liked Fred Kirschenmann’s talk on soil, as well as the talk by the young Birke Baehr. As a father of three young boys, I think a lot about what they eat.

5) Where can more information about your project be found?

More about my book can be found here.

More on the Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative can be found here.

Fred Bahnson is a writer, educator, and permaculture gardener. He is the author of Soil & Sacrament: Four Seasons Among the Keepers of the Earth (Simon & Schuster, 2013) and co-author of Making Peace with the Land (InterVarsity Press, 2012). Fred holds a masters in theological studies and in 2005 co-founded Anathoth Community Garden, a church-supported agriculture ministry in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. His essays have appeared in Christian Science Monitor, Orion, The Sun, Christian Century, and the anthologies Best American Spiritual Writing 2007 (Houghton Mifflin), Wendell Berry and Religion (Univ. Press of Kentucky) and State of the World 2011—Innovations that Nourish the Planet (Norton). His writing has received a number of awards, including an Award of Excellence from the Associated Church Press, a William Raney scholarship in nonfiction at Bread Loaf, a Kellogg Food & Community fellowship at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, and a 2012 North Carolina Artist fellowship in creative nonfiction from the North Carolina Arts Council. Fred lives with his wife and three sons on a hillside in Transylvania County, where they are growing a ½ acre edible forest garden with terraced vegetable beds. In 2012 Fred joined Wake Forest University School of Divinity as director of the new Food, Faith, & Religious Leadership Initiative, whose vision is to equip religious leaders with the skills necessary to create “more redemptive food systems, where God’s shalom becomes visible for a hungry world.”