This past Saturday, I attended the third annual TEDx Manhattan conference, “Changing The Way We Eat,” which featured leaders in the food and farming fields presenting ideas for how we can create a more sustainable food system. The presenters described how the current way we eat as a nation results in harmful impacts on the health of our children, ourselves, and our planet. Opportunities described for creating a better food system ranged from re-designing school food purchasing and cafeteria practices to growing more of our own food in our homes, schools, and community centers.
To grow food for ourselves and future generations, we need more farmers. According to the National Young Famers’ Coalition, we need at least one million more young farmers. Farmers over the age of 65 now outnumber farmers under the age of 35 by a margin of 6 to 1. Lindsey Lusher Shute, Director of the National Young Farmers’ Coalition, addressed the challenge: “To recruit a million new farmers, we need policy change to address the issues of land access and capital, more opportunities for consumers to buy local food and parents to encourage kids to farm.”
Global Green USA is an active participant in planting seeds for a sustainable food system. This past year, we’ve conducted economic research on composting and hosted a conference on food waste in New York City, published a report on opportunities for urban agriculture in Youngstown, Ohio, and piloted recyclable produce packaging on farms in New Jersey and California (see video here).
Our transition to a sustainable food system requires planting and preparing the seeds for many generations, seasons, and school years ahead. One of my favorite quotes from the day was from journalist Simran Sethi: “Like seed. All is contained within us. So we plant the seeds.”
All speeches are available to watch online.