Do you know where the food you eat comes from? Maybe you should...

I have a habit of always wanting to know things at a deeper level. Take for instance the food I eat. I want to know whether the tomato I had in my salad was genetically engineered or grown pesticide free in a local farm or miles away in Chile. Or if the salmon I had for dinner last night was farm raised in Arizona or wild caught in Alaska. Finicky? No--I just don't like the idea of eating fish that grows up on a farm or eating fruits that are engineered in a lab. I am the granddaughter of a fisherman after all and the daughter of a mother who keeps a tight garden! (PS some of the wild caught fish is far more nutritious and safe. And genetically modified fruits and veggies are causing concern.)

I want to know if the farm hands that helped plant and harvest the fruits and vegetables I eat are being exploited or treated humanely. And, I do want to know if pesticides, hormones or antibiotics were used in the food my family and I eat. Is the apple I give my kids genetically engineered? How safe is this stuff? Is the orange juice I give my kids in the morning laced with pesticides? Looks like Tropicana and Minute Maid have a little problem with fungicide, a dangerous pesticide banned in the US but not in Brazil or Mexico where much of our oranges used for juicing come from. As an 11 yr. old organic farmer asked in a powerful Ted lecture: Do you want to pay the farmer or the hospital?

Knowing is empowering. What and how we eat is ground zero for good health. While many of us have a plethora of choices in this country, many of these choices are based on environmental and societal factors. Education, access and affordability are among the key factors that come into play whether someone can make a healthy choice. Think of the urban deserts where you can buy all kinds of sugary drinks that pass as fruit juices and malt liquor-laced ices and not one edible delicious apple to snack on or a green park to run around in? Sometimes the odds are stacked against those of us who want to make healthy choices for ourselves and our families. Which is why the Tedx Manhattan event, "Changing the Way we Eat" was so powerful. Remarkable, really!

The day was filled with illuminating lectures and of course, all the lectures will be uploaded and available for all to enjoy. Some are already up. Check them out! Everything from what happens to the body when you eat processed foods vs natural foods. (PS: It's gross and illuminating.) Did you know that free range literally means giving the chicken a choice on whether or not to walk around for a few minutes. Even if said chicken never leaves the 8 by 11 inch space she is cooped in, because she was given the choice to walk around for a few minutes a day, whether or not she takes a walk is irrelevant -- the choice makes her free range! 

One of the most thrilling presenters was Bronx native Stephen Ritz. His spectacular work with the Bronx Green Machine and kids in the Bronx is jaw dropping. Beautiful. Worth watching. And helping!

The power of ideas is real: inspiring, insightful, illuminating.  Ask questions. Dig deeper.