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8 Must-See TED Talks About Sustainable Food

TED bills their rich archive of talks as "Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world", here are 8 of our favorites all about food and sustainability

TED homepage screen capture

Photo: TED.com

TED.com is a "clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world's most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other."

TED (an acronym for “Technology, Entertainment and Design”) started off as an annual conference held in Long Beach, California, but has now expanded to have regional conferences all over the world and in 2007, they launched a website that now contains “over 500″ TEDtalks from leading thinkers on a wide range of topics.

Their mission?

We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. So we’re building here a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other.

I love watching TED talks (maybe a little too much) and thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite talks about food. So here are seven that I really love, organized in a roughly sensible order, but coming from a variety of disciplines all centered around the topics of food and sustainability.

If there are others that you love, please leave a comment and share a link. Enjoy!

Carolyn Steel: How Food Shapes Our Cities

From TED.com: Every day, in a city the size of London, 30 million meals are served. But where does all the food come from? Architect Carolyn Steel discusses the daily miracle of feeding a city, and shows how ancient food routes shaped the modern world. Watch on TED.com »

Mark Bittman: What’s Wrong With What We Eat

From TED.com: In this fiery and funny talk, New York Times food writer Mark Bittman weighs in on what’s wrong with the way we eat now (too much meat, too few plants; too much fast food, too little home cooking), and why it’s putting the entire planet at risk. Watch on TED.com »

Ann Cooper Talks School Lunches

From TED.com: Speaking at the 2007 EG conference, “renegade lunch lady” Ann Cooper talks about the coming revolution in the way kids eat at school — local, sustainable, seasonal and even educational food. Watch on TED.com »

Dan Barber: How I Fell In Love With A Fish

From TED.com: Chef Dan Barber squares off with a dilemma facing many chefs today: how to keep fish on the menu. With impeccable research and deadpan humor, he chronicles his pursuit of a sustainable fish he could love, and the foodie’s honeymoon he’s enjoyed since discovering an outrageously delicious fish raised using a revolutionary farming method in Spain. Watch on TED.com »

Bonus – Dan Barber’s foie gras parable:

Louise Fresco On Feeding The Whole World

From TED.com: Louise Fresco shows us why we should celebrate mass-produced, supermarket-style white bread. She says environmentally sound mass production will feed the world, yet leave a role for small bakeries and traditional methods. Watch on TED.com »

Michael Pollan Gives A Plant’s-eye View

From TED.com: What if human consciousness isn’t the end-all and be-all of Darwinism? What if we are all just pawns in corn’s clever strategy game to rule the Earth? Author Michael Pollan asks us to see the world from a plant’s-eye view. Watch on TED.com »

Jamie Oliver’s TED Prize Wish: Teach Every Child About Food

From TED.com: Sharing powerful stories from his anti-obesity project in Huntington, W. Va., TED Prize winner Jamie Oliver makes the case for an all-out assault on our ignorance of food. Watch on TED.com »

Jason Clay: How Big Brands Can Help Save Biodiversity

From TED.com: Convince just 100 key companies to go sustainable, and WWF’s Jason Clay says global markets will shift to protect the planet our consumption has already outgrown. Hear how his extraordinary roundtables are getting big brand rivals to agree on green practices first — before their products duke it out on store shelves. Watch on TED.com »

Adam Schweigert

Adam Schweigert is the Managing Editor and Senior Producer for Earth Eats. He is also the Online Director for Indiana Public Media (WFIU/WTIU) and has been with WFIU Public Radio since the fall of 2003, previously serving as Director of Multimedia Initiatives, Music Director and Arts Bureau Chief. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana with his dog Sydney.

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