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!

Facing Factory Farms Salon Recap

Facing Factory Farms (large)

On June 16th, 2015, Change Food reunited with TEDxManhattan 2015 speakers Michele Merkel of Food & Water Justice and Kendra Kimbirauskas of the Socially Responsible Agricultural Project in New York City to host the Facing Factory Farms Salon. Joined by a diverse group of attendees, we sought to accomplish three goals:

  1. Generate actionable ideas on how to fight the growing presence of factory farming in the U.S.
  2. Discuss how to involve urban residents and students in fighting factory farming and other food issues.
  3. Use this Salon as a template for other interested individuals to create their own event around a food issue.

After showing Kendra and Michele’s talks, each speaker gave a brief update (below) on their work.

Despite Kendra Kimbirauskas’ work as an anti-factory farm organizer and the growing number of people increasing their involvement and education on the issue, factory farms continue to expand, affecting more and more communities . CAFOs dramatically degrade the land, and excessive waste and poor containment severely contaminate water sources. Further, AgGag laws make it illegal to take photos and document animal cruelty on CAFOs, making it difficult to expose factory farming practices.

Kendra shared SRAP’s damaging report, The Rap Sheets: Industrial Dairies in Kewaunee County, Wisconsin. Over a year in the making, the report provides  a rap sheet on industrial dairy, identifying negligent management and lack of oversight on CAFOs. In some rural communities 75% of wells are polluted with nitrates and 1/3 of people cannot use their tap water. Her hope is that this report will rally more people to do the right thing and to enforce EPA laws. View the full report here.

To get involved, Kendra suggests:

  • Get political and call your local legislators. The voice of people from densely populated areas do a lot of good for those in the rural communities being directly affected by factory farming.
  • Fight against the TransPacific Partnership (TPP), which will remove barriers to trade and cause pork to double its exports in the next 10 years, both undermining the ability of family farmers to compete and causing a huge explosion of factory farms within America.

See Kendra’s full TEDxManhattan talk, Don’t Let the Good Movement Become Only Feel Good, and bio here.

Co-director of Food & Water Justice, the legal arm of Food & Water Watch, Michele Merkel discussed the Food & Water Watch Factory Farm Map. With this tool, Michele identified statistics on farming in America and how the numbers have changed over time – specifically how the size of factory farms have increased by 20% in the last ten years! She also gave an update on Food & Water Watch’s #LoadOfCrap campaign which visually imparts the unsettling fact that every day America’s factory farms produce enough waste to fill the Empire State Building. You can see these advertisements in Times Square.

Citing John Oliver’s viral video on the poultry industry, Michele emphasized that one of the biggest problems that farmers face is contract farming and the inability to speak out against factory farms. Big meat preys on individual farmers, forcing them into very one-sided contracts. In order to fulfill contracts, growers take on debt, waste, dead animals, utilities and often make very little profit. Michele pointed out that for every bucket of KFC chicken ($3-5 retail price), the grower of the chicken gets roughly 0.25 cents!

To get involved, Michele suggests:

  • Sign bills and petitions and be vocal about the issues. Be an advocate for labeling foods.
  • Ohio Senator Marcy Kaptur is trying to pass a bill that will protect poultry farmers from losing their contracts if they speak out. Support her!
  • Support Representative Slaughter of New York and PAMTA, a bill to ban the use of medically important drugs in agriculture.
  • Take Action and tell the EPA to Regulate Factory Farms!

See Michele’s full TEDxManhattan talk, Using the Legal System to Fight Factory Farms, and bio here.

Solutions Generated by Participants at the Salon:
We ended the evening with an open forum in which attendees and speakers collaborated and generated solutions for the factory farm problem. Here are those ideas.

  • Motivate behavior at the point of purchase. Support and raise awareness about policy in restaurants by sharing information with the bill. For example, instead of sharing a postcard about the restaurant, partner with an organization like Food & Water Watch or a local farm, to present customers with a current issue that they can sign/support/learn about when they pay their bill.
  • Studies show people check their phones over 100x per day! Start a text-a-thon to raise money around a food issue.
  • Have a text-to-voice campaign where people can text messages to government officials that automatically become voicemails.
  • Host a webinar or Google Hangout for your workplace or followers to create a forum for educating and sharing ideas with individuals all over the world.
  • Work with for-profit companies to educate them about problems with the food system or to form partnerships that create products or ideas that advocate for change.
  • Lead with taste, then educate. Don’t beat people over the head with the issue, but let them first experience the truth of what you are saying for themselves
  • Emphasize that factory farming isn’t in other countries. In the last thirty years, Europeans have made steady progress in protecting farm animals.  
  • Leveraging celebrities to bring awareness (E.g. Beyoncé’s vegan meal delivery service).
  • Use the frightening facts to emphasize the dangers of antibiotic resistance. 80% of antibiotics in this country are used to raise livestock. Every year, due to antibiotic resistance, 2 million people fall ill and 23,000 people die.
  • Build more grocery stores that offer SNAP benefits. Don’t shame people but help them do better with what they have. Organization like Wholesome Wave have started doing this with farmers’ markets across the country.
  • Tap into parents and their purchasing power. When it comes to their kids, parents are often more willing to spend money where it matters. Jessica Alba’s Honest Co, which sells natural and eco-friendly baby products, has raised $122 million to date, is valued at nearly $1 billion and expects to rake in $150 million in revenue this year (three times more than last year).

Facing Factory Farms Sponsors

A special thank you to our amazing sponsors, Farm to People, Clean Plates, Sohha Yogurt, Slant Shack Jerky, Alter Eco and to our Change Food Agents for making the Salon possible!

See all photos from the event here.

About the Change Food Video Library:
We recently launched the Change Food Video Library, featuring our Quickbites playlist, a series of 1-2 minute videos where we ask key people in the food movement important questions about the food system. Visit the Change Food Video Library to find out how we’re connecting and galvanizing concerned consumers around the globe!
To receive updates on upcoming events or news, sign up for the Change Food newsletter:

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.

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.

The 2015 all-day event will be held on Saturday, March 7, from 10:30am eastern until 6:00pm and includes over a dozen dynamic speakers spanning the entire food spectrum from farming to food arts.

Topics will include:

  • The necessity of women farmers in the food movement
  • How US law favors large agribusiness companies and not small farmers
  • Teaching students about health through hip hop
  • Food as medicine
  • Beyond food hubs – local food and local food economies
  • Why organic really isn’t more expensive
  • What we really need to end hunger
  • How small changes in your eating can make huge differences
  • And much more!

TEDxManhattan is also launching TEDxManhattan Adventures in 2015, most to be hosted on Sunday, March 8th. These are experiences around food and farming and will include tours, meals, cooking demonstrations, panel discussions and more.

Stay up to date with TEDxManhattan and join the food discussion by signing up to host an official viewing party on March 7.  If you’d rather watch TEDxManhattan from your own computer, please sign up for a reminder email to watch the live webcast.

About TEDxManhattan

TEDxManhattan was founded in 2011 by Diane Hatz, founder & executive director of Change Food. The one-day annual event brings together key experts in the field of sustainable food and farming in order to spark discussion and help spread ideas that can help fix our broken food system. TEDxManhattan talks have been viewed online over 6.1 million times.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

About TED
TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 30 years ago, TED has grown to support its mission with multiple initiatives. The two annual TED Conferences invite the world’s leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes or less. Many of these talks are then made available, free, at TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Sal Khan and Daniel Kahneman.

The annual TED Conference takes place each spring in Vancouver, British Columbia, along with the TEDActive simulcast event in nearby Whistler. The annual TEDGlobal conference will be held this October in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. TED’s media initiatives include, where new TED Talks are posted daily; the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as translations from volunteers worldwide; the educational initiative TED-Ed. TED has established the annual TED Prize, where exceptional individuals with a wish to change the world get help translating their wishes into action; TEDx, which supports individuals or groups in hosting local, self- organized TED-style events around the world, and the TED Fellows program, helping world-changing innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

Follow TED on Twitter at, or on Facebook at

Help Us Spread the Word! Please share far and wide.


The 5th annual @TEDxManhattan, “Changing the Way We Eat,” will be webcast live from NYC on Saturday, March 7. Bring the full day of inspiring talks to your community by hosting a viewing party. Or watch online from home. Click here for more details and contact #TEDxMan


Find your local @TEDxManhattan viewing party here! #TEDxMan

No @TEDxManhattan viewing parties in your community? about hosting!: #TEDxMan

Watch the live webcast of @TEDxManhattan “Changing the Way We Eat” on 3/7!: #TEDxMan

See all the speakers for @TEDxManhattan “Changing the Way We Eat” live!  Sign up for our webcast: #TEDxMan

Need a reminder email for the @TEDxManhattan live webcast on 3/7? We’ve got you covered!: #TEDxMan

TEDxManhattan Photos and logos for social media posts

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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!

Sunny Young in Zester Daily

SunnyYoungSunny Young, Program Manager of Good Food for Oxford Schools, spoke at TEDxManhattan 2014 about how good food can change everything.  Zester Daily recently covered her work improving school food and educating kids about nutrition in Mississippi, where 40% of children are overweight or obese.

Matthew Moore in Zester Daily

Matthew moore

Matthew Moore

Artist and farmer Matthew Moore’s work is inspired by “the increasing disconnect between consumers and the source of their food.”  He spoke at TEDxManhattan 2104 about why this matters, and how art can make a difference.  Read about his work in a recent Zester Daily article.

First Round of TEDxManhattan 2015 Speakers Announced

Union Square Hospitality Group CEO and Founder Danny Meyer, NYC Coalition Against Hunger Executive Director Joel Berg and Food Tank co-Founder and President Danielle Nierenberg are among those who will take the stage at TEDxManhattan, “Changing the Way We Eat,” on March 7, 2015, in New York City.   See the full list of confirmed speakers in the recent press release.

NY Times Covers Bitty Foods & TEDxManhattan

Megan Miller’s 2014 TEDxManhattan talk, “Are insects the future of food?” led to lots of media coverage of edible insects – and an investment in her company, Bitty Foods.  The New York Times reports that, “after giving a presentation at the TEDxManhattan conference, [Megan] got the attention of the Florence Group, a business that the celebrity chef Tyler Florence helped found.”  The Florence Group subsequently became an equity investor in Bitty Foods.  Congratulations to Megan and her team!

Zester Daily Reports on Megan Miller & Bitty Foods

Megan MillerAre crickets the future of food? Read Zester Daily’s article on 2014 TEDxManhattan speaker Megan Miller and her company, Bitty Foods.