If you’re looking to expand your horizons about the way you eat, look no further than TED – the popular talks on technology, entertainment, and design.
TED speakers have explored everything from life-extending diets to technologies that could revolutionize how the world grows food.
Below, check out some of our favorite short talks on agriculture and food.
“What’s wrong with what we eat” by Mark Bittman
In this funny and passionate talk, New York Times food writer Mark Bittman lays out the problems with the standard American diet. He says we eat too much meat, not enough plants, too much fast food, and we rarely cook at home. All these things are putting the planet at risk, but there are simple changes we can make in our everyday lives to curb that.
“Choice, happiness and spaghetti sauce” by Malcolm Gladwell
“Tipping Point” author Malcolm Gladwell talks about Howard Moskowitz, an American psychophysicist known for creating new spaghetti sauces for Prego. By offering consumers as many choices as possible, Moskowitz hoped they would find their favorite one.
In his talk, Gladwell delves into the nature of choices and happiness. He believes that in reality, no one knows what they really want deep down.
“Why dieting doesn’t usually work” by Sandra Aamodt
In the US, 80% of girls have been on a diet by the time they’re 10 years old. In this talk, neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt shares her struggles with dieting in order to get to a larger point of how our brains manage our bodies.
She breaks down the science behind why dieting doesn’t work and how it can harm our minds and bodies. In addition, she suggests ideas for how to eat more intuitively and live a less diet-obsessed life.
“This computer will grow your food in the future” by Caleb Harper
Caleb Harper, director of the Open Agriculture Initiative at the MIT Media Lab, explores how we could change the food system with technology. One way to do that, he says, is by growing delicious, nutrient-dense indoors using a “food computer,” a platform that lets farmers control and monitor climate, energy, and plant growth.
“Why I’m a Weekday Vegetarian” by Graham Hill
Graham Hill, cofounder of the environmental blog Treehugger, discusses the health risks of eating too much red meat as well as the pervasiveness of animal cruelty in industrial agriculture. Even knowing these things, he opens up about why it took him so long to become a vegetarian. Hill also offers a simple strategy for those who want to cut down on the amount of meat they consume.
“How we can eat our landscapes” by Pam Warhurst
Pam Warhurst, cofounder of the gardening initiative Incredible Edible, makes the case for turning unused land into plots for growing crops. She tells the story about how she and a group of volunteers came together and transformed abandoned roads and car parks into community gardens.
“What’s Wrong With Our Food System” by Birke Baehr
11-year-old Birke Baehr has a few thoughts on America’s industrial farms, which are a major source of food in the US. He makes the case for local food production, arguing that situating farms far away from where people live gives an unrealistically rosy picture of big agriculture.
“How to live to be 100+” by Dan Buettner
In a quest to figure out what leads to a long, healthy life, author Dan Buettner and his team study “Blue Zones” – communities around the world whose elders live to record-setting age. He shares nine common diet and lifestyle habits that help keep people living longer.
“Teach every child about food” by Jamie Oliver
In his talk, British chef Jamie Oliver tackles the issue of child obesity. He talks about visiting a town in West Virginia to help families improve how kids eat at home and in school. At one point, he brings out a wheelbarrow full of sugar cubes to physically show the audience how much sugar a child gets from milk at school lunches over five years.
Though this one is a little over 20 minutes, it is worth watching.