Eating with Kids: Family Meals Matter

by Brittany Barton for Change Food
August 28, 2015

From the 2011 TEDx Manhattan event titled "Changing The Way We Eat" held February 12, 2011 in NYC.

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

Celebrate the Peach!

August 22nd is National Eat a Peach Day. Each day of the calendar year is Nikiko_Masumoto_2015smlincreasingly being used to celebrate or to bring awareness to a variety of things: like Earth Day for major environmental issues, and World Breastfeeding Week for a critical international women’s right. In the food world, each day has also been selected for a food product; sometimes, even not-the-healthiest treats have their day. Today, healthful peaches are the stars.

At Change Food, peaches remind us of Nikiko Masumoto, a beginning, Asian-American peach farmer from the Central Valley of California. In March of 2015, she was a speaker at TEDxManhattan with her talk “Reigniting the Soul of Farming”. On stage, Nikiko delivered a powerful and inspiring account of her life as a farmer. In less than 15 minutes, she was able to transport viewers to her family’s famous farm, the Masumoto Family Farm, and inspire all her listeners to “remake our food system”. After watching her talk, it is impossible to eat a peach without appreciating not only the fruit’s juicy, sweet taste, but also the dedicated labor that farmers like her put in year-round to harvest and deliver healthy, flavorful peaches in the summer.

Nikiko_n_SRitz2015 copyLike most farmers in the Central Valley, Nikiko and her family are facing the challenge of growing produce in the face of a prolonged drought, and historically warmer temperatures. To help conserve water, the Masumotos decided to cut down on the irrigation of their peach orchards. The result so far has been both a blessing and a struggle: smaller peaches that are more flavorful.

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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.

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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.

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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 www.tedxmanhattan.org

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.