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Your food-system meteorologist: TEDxManhattan

TEDxManhattan mascot
TEDxManhattan mascot

Tomorrow is the fourth annual TEDxManhattan: Changing the Way We Eat. Hundreds of food-system students, thought leaders, writers, entrepreneurs, and influencers will gather in New York for an exceptional day of food for thought and for taste.

This Examiner has covered the past three TEDxManhattans and it seems that each one has served as a rather accurate “weather report” for that year in our food system.

The first in 2011 felt like a series of sermons from the mount: big, fringy ideas laced with strong morals (some of them directly conflicting) – and fervent exclamation points but not a lot of readily accessible action.

Then 2012 became the year of action. Bite-sized stories showcased what was working, and how, across clearly defined local landscapes. Each presenter offered a digestible call to action, a guidepost to help attendees comprehend what they could walk out of TEDxManhattan and go do.

Just a few weeks before 2013, bitter words were exchanged on local blogs and social media as one food activist was “disinvited” to present. The skirmish before last year’s TEDxManhattan made painfully clear how complicated (arguably impossible) it is to be fully inclusive in “the food movement.” (This Examiner continues to maintain that there is no one food movement.)

When asked to share a sneak peek at tomorrow and the “weather” ahead...

Lead organizer and sponsor of all four years Diane Hatz said: “One of the big themes running through talks this year is collaboration toward creating a real food movement. We’ve reached a point, as a broad community, where building bridges and working together is paramount. Fortunately, as we’ll hear tomorrow, it’s starting to happen.”

Speaker Virginia Clarke, Executive Director of Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders, who will share a talk titled Changing the Way We Give added: “Skies look very bright in the coming year. I think we’re going to see stronger partnerships between the public and private sectors, and clearer understanding of how individual efforts tie into the overall food system. Particularly bright will be the number of regional and statewide networks of funders who will be working together around food systems issues.”

Fourth-generation family farmer, artist and activist Matt Moore chimed in: “Cloudy with the chance of awesome.”

Live-streamers: Tune in tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. ET for the full forecast.

Wanna talk about it? Tweet me at @businessforfood.

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