TEDxManhattan Speaker Update: Peter Lehner

TEDxMAN-139We’ve been checking in with former TEDxManhattan speakers to get an update on their work.  Below, 2013 speaker Peter Lehner, Executive Director of NRDC, tells us about NRDC’s ongoing efforts to ensure a safe and sustainable food system.  See Peter’s talk on food waste here.

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 datelabels 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?

TEDx Manhattan was a great way to articulate a new way of thinking about how to design waste out of our food system.

Change Food is a nonprofit whose mission is to connect and transform the food we eat, the people who produce it, and the world in which it is grown. To read and learn more, visit The Guide to Good Food blog. 

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