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Attendees view the live webcast from TEDxManhattan’s “Changing the Way We Eat.”

by Jennifer Roe

Bethesda Green was bursting with energy and inspiring conversation this past Saturday, February 16.  Community members joined together to watch a live webcast of the TEDxManhattan event “Changing the Way We Eat,” held in New York City.  Attendees were motivated by speeches discussing innovative ways to change our food system. Among the presenters in New York was Bethesda resident Cheryl Kollin.

Cheryl won the TEDxManhattan challenge for a speaker spot on the day-long program and given the opportunity to discuss her Farm-to-Freezer program with thousands of webcast viewers across the country.  During the mid-day break in the TEDx program, a delicious pot-luck lunch was enjoyed, followed by a panel discussion of local leaders making a difference in our community’s food system.

Cheryl Newman, who chairs the Montgomery County Food Council, moderated the panel, which included presentations about local farms, food insecurity, green catering, and markets that serve both local farmers and customers.

Attendees spent the day both listening to new ideas and brainstorming their own through conversation about how we can build a healthier, more sustainable local food system.  Lisa Helfert came to the event with hopes of learning more about food issues and “to be apart of a community locally that cares about these issues.”  She enjoyed hearing from the panel what people are doing locally and found all the speakers inspiring.  Tama Matsuoka’s TEDx presentation stuck out the most to Lisa.  After Tama’s speech, which focused on how to turn backyard weeds into delicious meals, she “will never look at weeds the same way again.”  This and other speeches drew similar reactions from viewers.

I think the best way to summarize what to take away from a day packed full with innovative ideas is a quote from Chef Anne Cooper, “Do one thing.” So, what is your one thing?

Jennifer Roe is a recent graduate of the University of Edinburgh where she received her Master’s in Environment and Development.  She is passionate about building a just and sustainable food system where every individual has the opportunity to lead a successful, healthy life.