The innate complexity of food and farming issues pushes us to keep a constant lookout for new ways to communicate ideas. One great way can be the moving image.
There’s an absolute feast of foodie video content across the web, ranging from animations to lectures to feature films (such as Food, Inc. – check out our review of this brilliant film).
And one example that often catches our attention is TED (short for Technology Entertainment Design); a treasure-trove of innovative thinking with a mission to publicise "Ideas Worth Spreading". For well over two decades, the non-profit has been instrumental in providing a global stage for the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes or less, give or take a few minutes).
Take a look at talks tagged "food" on ted.com and you find a diversity of content to enjoy. And if you have a 45-minute break coming up (or 44 minutes 31 seconds, to be precise!), we’ve provided a way to fill it; three of the best foodie TED talks around:
Birke Baehr: What's wrong with our food system (5m 47s)
What TED says: 11-year-old Birke Baehr presents his take on a major source of our food – far-away and less-than-picturesque industrial farms. Keeping farms out of sight promotes a rosy, unreal picture of big-box agriculture, he argues, as he outlines the case to green and localise food production. Birke Baehr wants us to know how our food is made, where it comes from, and what's in it. At age 11, he's planning a career as an organic farmer.
What we think: The most surprising part of this film may well be that the hugely passionate and inspirational speaker is only 11 years old! We like how Birke uses humour to communicate his ideas on organic farming. A food and farming leader in the making.
Marcel Dicke: Why not eat insects? (18m 35s)
What TED says: Marcel Dicke’s message to squeamish chefs and foodies: delicacies like locusts and caterpillars compete with meat in flavour, nutrition and eco-friendliness. Marcel Dicke wants us to reconsider our relationship with insects, promoting bugs as a tasty – and ecologically sound – alternative to meat in an increasingly hungry world.
What we think: The idea of eating insects may not be to everyone’s taste (and the ethical implications are fairly unexplored), but it’s vital to assess all of our options in a resource-constrained, protein-hungry world. Marcel’s talk contains a swarm of fascinating insectoid facts.
Mark Bittman: What's wrong with what we eat (20m 9s)
What TED says: 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. Mark Bittman is a bestselling cookbook author, journalist and television personality. His friendly, informal approach to home cooking has shown millions that fancy execution is no substitute for flavour and soul.
What we think: Mark’s multi-faceted speech is brilliantly structured and expertly delivered. Some jaw-dropping facts are thrown in for good measure, too.