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.”
Having celebrated enormous success together, Change Food Director Diane Hatz and TED have mutually agreed to retire TEDxManhattan as of April 2015. Today, September 30th, 2015, marks the official end of TEDxManhattan on it’s website and social media platforms. As the licensee of the event, Diane is very thankful to both TED and the thousands of viewers who made the past six years so successful and inspiring. All TEDxManhattan talks will remain available for your viewing pleasure on YouTube.
However, this isn’t only an end, but also the start of something new! Starting Fall 2016, Change Food will host the Change Food Fest, a three-day festival featuring speakers, dinners, events for children, a film festival, workshops and more. The theme will be “Brave Food World,” and the events will focus on the successes in changing the current problems in our food and farming systems. As Diane explains, “It’s extremely important that people are given information and are educated about problems with the food system, but it’s just as important (if not more so at this point) that we begin discussing real change that is happening. People need to know that the food system is changing, that people are tackling big issues and are developing new models and new systems – that there are successes out there.”
Change Food is looking forward to developing new partnerships with other food-focused groups on the road to planning the Change Food Fest. This is an exciting endeavor, which will hopefully expand and move to various cities around the country, and eventually the world! The festival’s website is currently under construction, however, you can stay up-to-date by joining the new mailing list.
Mark your calendars for October 2016. Good food, good speakers, and endless fun await – hope to see you there!
(Please note: Change Food is not affiliated with TED or TEDx.)
Kelly Mertz earned her undergraduate degree in International Studies and French Language from American University, where she focused on International Development in Latin America and the Caribbean. She is fascinated by public nutritional health campaigns and the politics of food aid.