I should have known better. In a time when I feel as though every time I cross one thing off the to-do list it translates to many more additions to that list, I should not have attempted to add one more to-do. Instead I should be scaling back, trying to find efficiencies, and reducing my commitments in order to better focus on the seemingly monumental work that I have to tackle right now. So when I initiated watching TED talks for daily inspiration I should have known to make it dailymonthly as a start.
But I am eternally optimistic, and passionate about working towards a better food system, so I was hoping to find a way to stay closely connected to creativity and inspiration in the field. What I have realized is that thanks to our interconnected world these days, inspiration is always close at hand. So I'm scaling back – a monthly TED talk review; a quick dose of excitment to help me keep my eyes on the horizon even when it feels like I'm drowning. And besides, a month's passing feels like a week anyways!
So, here is the monthly TED talk that I've watched for April: one by Lindsey Lusher Shute, founder & director of the National Young Farmers' Coalition. A good overview of the reasons why many did not continue family farms, reasons that we should incubate more farms, and how policies need to change to support these new farms and address barriers to entry and ongoing challenges such as financing.
Day 2 inspiration – a local story that I had heard was selecting as part of a competition to present at a TEDx Manhattan event all about food.
Simple solution, multiple benefits – combining business werewithal with passion to address a problem in the local food system of wasted food that could be used to feed the hungry: prepare and freeze it.
Points of interest / takeaways:
the challenge of presentations and balance of detail; I came away without being able to distill exactly how the program is distinct and works into a brief description (filled the freezers at Manna only or others too? logistics of getting food around? dealing with larger volumes than expected?)
inclusion of stories/steps & bringing story to life: there were pictures from Spiral Path Farm but nothing shared about how it has affected their business (other than a reference to nebulous 'tax breaks' for donations)
notion of Maryland Benefit Corporation and exploration of that status
I love the concept of TED talks – getting ideas out there, sharing fantastic projects and ideas that are actively addressing social, environmental, and other problems. But every time I want to look for some inspiration it's been overwhelming the amount of content that is now out there associated with TED (talks! conferences! events! TEDx!).
So I've come up with a new strategy – in the spirit of starting the day with some inspiration, I am going to watch 1 TED talk per day.
Today's topic: guerrilla gardening in South Central LA. Ron Finley makes a great case for "changing the composition of the soil" – our society. Here's the video:
And my favorite points / quotes from the talk:
we have to change the composition of the soil – we are the soil
"growing your own food is like printing your own money"
The best of the summer needs little dressing to make extraordinary meals – the sweetness of corn, the tang of tomatoes, and the smooth softness of fresh mozzarella or ricotta cheese pairs perfectly with a whole grain and sings once kissed with a bit of olive oil, salt & pepper.
I hope that you are enjoying the local bounty of the season and savoring the sweetness of what the fields are offering now.