Category Archives: TEDxManhattan

A Fond Farewell to TEDxManhattan

By Brittany Barton for Change Food

November 4, 2015


Five years. 90 speakers. 7.2 million YouTube views. 494 viewing parties. 8 million people impacted. TEDxManhattan “Changing the Way We Eat” resonated across the world and made great strides for an improved food system. The five influential one-day events held from 2011 to 2015 were a nationally-recognized brand and a sought-after platform for individuals and organizations doing innovative work in sustainable food and farming. It provided innovators with an opportunity to raise their profile and reach far beyond their existing audiences. TEDxManhattan has had a significant impact, acting as a catalyst for new opportunities, spurring media coverage of new projects and leading to dynamic partnerships.

After five years of significant successes, TEDxManhattan has officially retired and we bid it a fond farewell. The impact of each event will live on in the projects, collaborations and new events made possible by TEDxManhattan.

We wanted to take an opportunity to thank and honor all of the speakers, participants, viewing party organizers, sponsors, volunteers and all those who attended the event. TEDxManhattan was all of us combined.


More than anything, TEDxManhattan was about the people. It was about the connections, collaborations and friendships the events made possible. The selected speakers were given an opportunity to present their project or idea to a captive audience and each person walked away with a community of champions ready to support them.

And for some it completely changed their lives. Some speakers were new to the food movement and had never been exposed to such a receptive audience. Veteran food activists were ready and willing to lend their expertise. Below we’ve highlighted only a few of the incredible partnerships made possible by TEDxManhattan.

Audience member Susan Haar organized the Harvard Food Law Conference that has led to students organizing regionally and in other groups. She says, “I really want to say it never would have happened without (Diane Hatz) and TEDxManhattan. In one day you completely woke me up to the possibility of changing the food system and the urgency to do so.” The Harvard conference energized everyone in attendance and next steps proposed by students are already in the works – including a website, an alumni network, sharing of administrative resources for starting a student food law society, sharing of ideas for topics of student notes, cross-network projects, and an annual meeting.

Susan was introduced to 2015 TEDxManhattan speaker, Michele Merkel, Co-director of Food & Water Justice and invited her to be the keynote speaker for the Harvard Food Law Conference. It gave Michele’s justice program great exposure and also a view into the future of the legal efforts in the food movement.

Michele’s 2015 TEDxManhattan talk, “Using the legal system to fight factory farms” spurred a Food & Water Watch alert, and over 13,000 people took action against the EPA, asking them to reinstate the rule to create an inventory of CAFOs. This occurred within days of her video release.  Continue reading

A Paradigm Shift in Mississippi School Cafeterias

By Ligia V. Henriquez for Change Food

Versión en Español

In her TEDxManhattan talk Good Food Can Change Everything, Sunny Young, winner of the 2014 TEDxManhattan Challenge, described the Good Food for Oxford Schools (GFOS) farm to school program in Mississippi. Today, we are happy to share an exciting update on her work!

Photo 1. Sunny Young at TEDxManhttan on March 2014. Slide showing second grade student, Samaria, eating kale chips after meeting the farmer who grew the kale and the chef who prepared them. TEDxManhattan.

Photo 1. Sunny Young at TEDxManhttan on March 2014. Slide showing second grade student, Samaria, eating kale chips after meeting the farmer who grew the kale and the chef who prepared them. TEDxManhattan.

Through GFOS in the Oxford School District in Oxford, Mississippi, Sunny helped engage and empower school staff, students, and their families to change the way they think of and eat food.

When she gave her talk in March 2014, GFOS had helped transform the food served in their school cafeterias by:

  • Increasing the percentage of food made from scratch served in school meals from 30% to 75% within one year
  • Increasing servings of fresh foods from local producers
  • Eliminating fryers from school cafeterias
  • Introducing salad bars in all the District’s schools
  • Bringing farmers and chefs to schools to teach children about good food

A mother reported that her daughter, Samaria (see photo 1), who previously refused to try fruits or vegetables, was now pestering her for fruits, rather than for highly processed products! (Hint: watch related TEDxManhattan talk: Marketing Food to Children, were Anna Lappé explains “pester power”).

The statistics that Sunny shared during her talk show the need for a paradigm shift in the diets of Mississippi children:

  • Mississippi is the state with the highest obesity rates in the country
  • 40% of Mississippi children eat less than 1 fruit or vegetable on a daily basis
  • 40% of Mississippi children are overweight/ obese
  • 74% of parents are not worried about their children’s weight

As she explained, farm to school efforts are important because in the Oxford School District alone, academic performance and overall well-being have declined in children who are overweight, malnourished, and/or suffering from diet-related diseases. Students as young as five have been diagnosed with Type II Diabetes, a disease formerly only identified in adults.[i]
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Un Cambio de Paradigma en las Cafeterías Escolares de Mississippi

Por Ligia V. Henríquez para Change Food

Read In English

En su charla de TEDxManhattan, Good Food Can Change Everything (La Comida Buena Puede Cambiar Todo), Sunny Young, ganadora del Reto TEDxManhattan 2014, describió el programa de granja a la escuela llamado Buena Comida Para Las Escuelas de Oxford (GFOS por sus siglas en inglés). Hoy, estamos contentos de compartir una emocionante actualización de su labor.

Foto 1. Sunny Young en TEDxManhattan 2014. La diapositiva muestra a la estudiante de segundo grado, Samaria, comiendo col rizada después de haber conocido al granjero que la produjo y al chef que la preparó. TEDxManhattan.

Foto 1. Sunny Young en TEDxManhattan 2014. La diapositiva muestra a la estudiante de segundo grado, Samaria, comiendo col rizada después de haber conocido al granjero que la produjo y al chef que la preparó. TEDxManhattan.

A través de GFOS en el Distrito Escolar de Oxford en Oxford, Mississippi, Sunny contribuyó a atraer y empoderar al personal, estudiantes y familias de las escuelas para que mejoren su alimentación.

Cuando ella dio su charla en Marzo del 2014, GFOS había ya ayudado a transformar la comida en cafeterías escolares de las siguientes maneras:

  • Incrementando el porcentaje de alimentos preparados “desde cero” servidos en las comidas escolares de un 30% a un 75% en un año
  • Incrementando las porciones de comidas frescas de productores locales
  • Eliminando las freideras de las cafeterías escolares
  • Introduciendo barras de ensaladas en todas las escuelas del distrito
  • Llevando a granjeros y a chefs a las escuelas a enseñarle a los niños acerca de comida saludable

Una madre reportó que su hija, Samaria (ver Foto 1), quien antes no probaba frutas ni vegetales, ahora le insiste que le compre frutas, en lugar de productos altamente procesados (Consejo: ver la charla de TEDxManhattan: Marketing Food to Children [Publicidad de Alimentos Dirigida a Niños], donde Anna Lappé explica las tácticas publicitarias que incitan a los niños a insistir por ciertos productos).

Las estadísticas que Sunny compartió en su charla muestran la necesidad de un cambio de paradigma en la alimentación de los niños de Mississippi:

  • Mississippi es el estado con los índices de obesidad mas altos del país
  • 40% de los niños en Mississippi comen menos de una fruta o vegetal al día
  • 40% de los niños en Mississippi sufren sobrepeso/obesidad
  • 74% de los padres no están preocupados por el peso de sus hijos

Como ella explicó, los esfuerzos de los programas de la granja a la escuela son importantes ya que tan sólo en el Distrito Escolar de Oxford, el desempeño académico y bienestar general ha disminuido en los niños que sufren sobrepeso, mala alimentación, y/o enfermedades relacionadas con la dieta. Estudiantes muy jóvenes, de apenas cinco años de edad, han sido diagnosticados con Diabetes Tipo II, una enfermedad antes solo identificada en adultos.[i]
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Chicken Soup Series: Remedies for the Food System Part I: Soup and the History of Restaurants

By Ligia V. Henriquez

Versión en Español

On these first days of October, New York City is cloudy and temperatures are starting to fall. New Yorkers are avoiding the sneezing and colds of their colleagues and fellow subway riders. For a little homemade comfort, at Change Food we decided to partner with amazing chefs to bring you the series Chicken Soup: Remedies for the Food System.

These recipes are not guaranteed to cure the common cold, but will definitely help keep you warm. We open the series today with restaurateur Danny Meyer’s TEDxManhattan 2015 talk, “The Convergence of Casual and Fine.” Danny Meyer is the CEO of the Union Square Hospitality Group, which has opened numerous acclaimed restaurants like Gramercy Tavern, and launched the casual burger spot, Shake Shack.

Danny Meyer, restaurateur and CEO of the Union Square Hospitality Group, giving his talk “The Convergence of Casual and Fine” at TEDxManhattan 2015.

Danny Meyer, restaurateur and CEO of the Union Square Hospitality Group, giving his talk “The Convergence of Casual and Fine” at TEDxManhattan 2015.

At the beginning of his talk, Danny Meyer took us back to France, where he believes restaurants originated from places that served “bouillon” or soup. “The original concept of restaurants,” he said, “came from the French ‘to restore’ and the whole notion of going to a restaurant started at restaurants that were called bouillons, because there was nothing more restorative– there still is nothing more restorative– than a good bowl of consommé: bone broth!”

For our series Chicken Soup: Remedies for the Food System, Danny Meyer contributed the following recipe from the cookbook Family Table: Favorite Staff Meals From Our Restaurants To Your Home authored by Michael Romano & Karen Stabiner:
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A Last Hurrah for TEDxManhattan

by Kelly Mertz for Change Food
September 29, 2015


In today’s digital age, it is easier than ever to learn about any topic that peaks your interest. Thanks to dedicated, passionate professionals like our very own Change Food Founder, Diane Hatz, series like TEDxManhattan make educating ourselves all the more accessible. You may have heard of TED Talks – educational lectures featuring experts on just about anything, with the goal of sparking insightful conversations. They’ve gained popularity in recent years, self-describing themselves as “Ideas Worth Sharing.” TEDx events are TED sponsored, but independently organized, and can feature live speakers and pre-recorded TED Talk videos alike.

Beginning in 2011, TEDxManhattan “Changing the Way We Eat” hosted speakers from around the world on topics ranging from hunger, to sustainable farming initiatives, to gastronomy and to the connection between art and food, and beyond. Word spread, and between 2011 and 2015, TEDxManhattan just kept growing– from an initial 50 viewing parties in its inaugural year to over 170 in 2015. Furthermore, its reach was able to expand past the stage, eventually including events like tours of farms in Upstate New York and cooking classes for children in New York City. Ken Cook, founder and president of the Environmental Group, put it this way: “This institution, TEDxManhattan, has changed the food movement.” Continue reading

Eating with Kids: Family Meals Matter

by Brittany Barton for Change Food
August 28, 2015

From the 2011 TEDx Manhattan event titled

From the 2011 TEDx Manhattan event titled “Changing The Way We Eat” held February 12, 2011 in NYC. Photo by Jason Houston.

As summer winds down, families gear up for the back to school routine. This means earlier mornings, shuttling kids to and from school, fitting in basketball practice, dance class, piano lessons, homework and time with friends. Each family is stretched for time and something critical is missing, family dinner.

August is Family Meals Month. In 2011, Laurie David presented at TEDxManhattan on the importance of healthy, family meals in a world where eating right has become increasingly difficult. The dinner table is where we learn our first lessons of civilized behavior. With kids spending more than seven hours per day on electronic devices, they are missing out on key lessons gleaned from human connection. Laurie mentions that entire families living under the same roof are leading separate lives under the influence of personal electronics.

Connected family time is moving toward extinction and children are suffering for it. Studies show a decreased risk in drug and alcohol use, teen pregnancy, eating disorders and depression when families share a meal at least three times per week.

The regular act of sitting down and eating together creates a safe, predictable time with ritualized access to one another. This is a time for real connection away from electronics where children learn values and manners. Continue reading

Reunited and It Feels So Good!

2015-06-21 07.07.32Steve Ritz, El Capitan of Green Bronx Machine stopped by Masumoto Family Farm to get a tour from fellow TEDxManhattan speaker Nikiko Masumoto.

Steve is a South Bronx educator who believes that students shouldn’t have to leave their community to live, learn and earn a better one. A Top Ten Finalist for the Global Teach Prize and the 2015 TEDxManhattan Award recipient, Steve is now focusing his energy on building the National Health and Wellness Center at PS 55. Learn more about Steve and see his inspiring talk here.

Nikiko Masumoto is a farmer, artist and creator. Born in the Central Valley of California, Nikiko spent her childhood slurping over-ripe peaches on the Masumoto Family Farm where she still works to this day. Her passion for arts and activism is woven with her love of the land and dreams of a sustainable future. See her full talk that had the TEDxManhattan audience in tears here.

Masumoto Family FarmA very special thank you to Steve and Nikiko for sharing these breathtaking photos. Check out all of the photos here!

2015 TEDxManhattan Award Winner Green Bronx Machine

GBXCelebrating innovative, results-oriented, creative individuals, groups or companies working in the sustainable food and farming field, TEDxManhattan “Changing the Way We Eat” is pleased to announce Green Bronx Machine is the winner of the 2015 TEDxManhattan Award.

TEDxManhattan “Changing the Way We Eat” also announced this year’s second place winner, Cafeteria Culture and third place winner, Wholesome Wave.

As part of the Award, Steve Ritz of Green Bronx Machine will speak onstage at TEDxManhattan, “Changing the Way We Eat,” on March 7, 2015, in New York City.  Green Bronx Machine will be introduced to the TEDxManhattan community, and you will be given the opportunity to support Steve and his work. If you want to help – or you want to receive more information about Green Bronx Machine, please fill out this form.  

With an exciting roster of experts and innovators, TEDxManhattan raises public awareness about critical issues facing the food system while fostering collaboration within the food movement.  In order to be inclusive, TEDxManhattan also invites communities, organizations, and individuals to organize viewing parties worldwide for the live webcast of this one-day TEDx event.

Supported by lead sponsor Change Food, this independently organized TEDx event will gather speakers and audience members from diverse backgrounds to create new synergies, connections and collaborations across disciplines. Since its inception in 2011, TEDxManhattan has become a nationally-recognized brand and a sought-after platform for individuals and organizations working on issues related to sustainable food and farming.  As Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook recently said, “This institution, TEDxManhattan, has changed the food movement.”

Congratulations to the winners and all of the finalists.  And thank you to everyone who voted and to our esteemed judges.

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. 

TEDxManhattan: Changing the Way We Eat

TEDxManhattan 2015

The TED organization birthed not only TED Talks and the TED Conference, but also created independently organized educational events known as TEDx, which are hosted in cities all over the world. Diane Hatz, of Change Food and founder/organizer of the food and farming-focused TEDxManhattan, identified the need for people to understand the food system on a broader scale and has been the master of ceremonies at her event since 2011.

TEDxManhattan rapidly gained attention beyond Gotham’s zip codes and across the world through viewing parties hosted by individuals and groups interested in healthier food and a more sustainable food system. In 2014, 150 viewing parties joined 13,000 computers to watch dynamic and engaging talks by key experts in the food and farming movement. Twitter exposure neared 8 million people while over 65,000 people were reached on Facebook . This year, TEDxManhattan again welcomes people and groups to register and host their own viewing party event.

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Finalists Announced for 2015 TEDxManhattan Award: Vote Today

TEDxManhattanThe eight finalists for the coveted 2015 TEDxManhattan Award have been named and the polls are now open so you can help select the winner. The TEDxManhattan Award recognizes an organization making a difference in the field of sustainable food and farming. This year’s finalists include:

  • Animal Welfare Approved
  • Broccoli’s Extreme Makeover
  • Cafeteria Culture
  • Dunk the Junk
  • Green Bronx Machine
  • Pure Food Kids Foundation
  • Sea to Table
  • Wholesome Wave

Online voting is open now through 6 pm ET on Sunday, January 25. The winner will be selected based on the votes submitted as well as the input from a panel of expert judges, including Food & Wine editor-in-chief, Dana Cowin who will present the award at TEDxManhattan: Changing the Way We Eat. The deserving recipient organization will be announced on January 30 and will have the opportunity to speak about its efforts at TEDxManhattan, taking place on Saturday, March 7.

To learn more about TEDxManhattan: Changing the Way We Eat and ways you can enjoy the event live from the comfort of your own computer, please visit

In the meantime, please be sure to vote!

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.