From Diane’s Desk: Speakers

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Farm Sunset - From Diane's DeskDiane Hatz is the Founder & Executive Director of Change Food.  She’s been working toward a better food system for nearly 20 years and is sharing her thoughts as she prepares for The Change Food Fest in New York City on November 12th, 2016.

One of the key and most important parts to any event are the speakers.  How are they chosen?  Who should they be?  What will they say?

A lot of conferences invite people to speak and that’s it.  Speakers show up, sometimes after having written their talk on the plane to the event, and many spend their time basically reciting their resume.

I don’t believe in that.  When people committed to speaking at TEDxManhattan or commit to speaking at The Change Food Fest, they’re committing to creating the best talk of their career.  They’re given guides on preparing a talk and have speaker coaches work with them over the course of at least two months.  They must sign a form stating they will practice in advance.  

The event is just one step in my idea of a conference/event/educational program.  The talks are professionally filmed and then used as educational tools afterwards.  They are promoted to media, schools, groups interested in food, and anyone who would like to learn or share information about food and farming with others.  They are put into the Change Food Video Library, which I talked about in my last post.

So how are speakers selected?  It’s more of an art than a science, but I think it’s crucial to find voices that have something new to say and/or have not been heard by enough people.  It’s fine to have a few people who do the conference circuit, but I think it’s most important to find new voices who are working on groundbreaking or projects that have not become nationally known.

For all my events, I do an open speaker call – I actively search for people and programs I haven’t heard of.  At The Change Food Fest, I have many people speaking who are new to me, who are doing work I think can change our food system – and they have something to say.  I hope you will join us or tune in to the webcast that day to watch them.


Change Food® works toward a healthier food system for people, animals & the planet.  Learn more about Plant Eat Share – planting food in public spaces. For free.