TEDSalon London Spring 2012: Pam Warhurst – How We Can Eat Our Landscapes

It’s TED Tuesday everyone! Today I’m sharing two lectures on the subjects of community food gardening.

I’ve always been interested in What was in my food; as a kid, while eating cereal, or anything from a can or box, I’d flip it around to the nutrition facts and look at the caloric makeup of the food, and the ingredients that went in it. I never cared much about whether it was healthy for you or not–it was more fascinating to me to see what words cropped up on these processed foods over and over again (and the fact that six-year-old me got a kick out of being able to rattle off these scientific sounding words.) Early on, I had noticed that “high fructose corn syrup,” “thiamine mononitrate,” “sodium benzoate,” and various food dyes commonly occurred from food to food.

Over the course of the last couple of years, I’ve been growing more aware of where our food comes from and, more importantly, how we obtain it. Articles on the growing obesity problem in America always interested me, and I had always been interested in nutrition for maintaining health. My cousin, who attended USC, Harvard, and Johns Hopkins for her Public Health degrees would rail against the effects and consequences of buying certain products, or having certain viewpoints made me aware of a level of apathy which I had maintained all the previous years. Then I read Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation and watched the documentary “Food Inc.” (while I was laid up in bed with shingles) and these three things really kicked off the part of me caring about where and how we get our food.

In the past few months, I’ve been watching a series of lectures entitled “Lifelong Health: Achieving Optimum Well-Being at Any Age” given by a Dr. Anthony A. Goodman (distributed by The Great Courses company). He also mentions the benefits of growing your own food.

On to the TED lectures!

This first talk with Pam Warhurst is very well written; she’s a good public speaker, she’s obviously made this pitch many, many times, and it is comedic while serious, easy-to-follow, and inspirational. She talks about how much of our space in the suburbs and cities go to waste when we plant random things that aren’t harvestable. More than that, she also touches upon the impact that cultivating the small bits of land we have in front of us would have on our children, and so, future generations of humankind.

For those of you who think, ‘oh blah, well, I live in the heart of the city, so there are no green spaces, and I’m in an apartment’… The second video is of Britta Riley, talking about a method of gardening (window gardening) and how social media has aided on its research and development. She is not as good of a public speaker and the lecture itself is not as inspiring as Warhurst’s, but it is to the point, and informs otherwise those who think they get a pass on community gardening, or feel out-of-the-loop, due to living restrictions.

Pam Warhurst – How We Can Eat Our Landscapes

TEDxManhattan: Britta Riley – A Garden in My Apartment


TED Global 2012 Lecture: Neil Harbisson – I Listen To Colour

Guiltily, I was not initially impressed with the lecture for the first half of it (I’ll explain the guilt later.) I’m glad I kept listening, because the end of his lecture was very strong. The only reason I had chosen to watch the link is because I am interested in synesthesia, and (being a musician and daughter of an artist) I myself am strongly moved by music/sound and art/colours.

In retrospect, I think my boredom/apathy stemmed from the fact that Harbisson’s extra-sensory perceptions are things that I do not have, do not experience. And so, like a person leading a stupid horse right up to the water, Harbisson had to eventually lead me and the audience to how these extra-sensory perceptions could have an impact on in world-at-large, on our knowledge. I feel guilty to have been apathetic for the first half of the lecture because I think it implies a lack of vision… or a lack of creativity to independently apply what he was saying to anything greater.

If we were able to sense a wider range, or more, of what we are currently able to experience, humans would be able to draw more correlations between things than we have or are capable of without the aid of technology. This seems like a very dull statement; obviously, if we couldn’t see the little bacterias without the microscope, we wouldn’t understand biology as we know it today. But what Harbisson says technology could aid humans with, is so much more direct and personal; first-hand observations of the world would be completely different.

(Also, totally agree with him–enough with the useless phone apps. Make some apps to interface directly with humans. Something game-changing. Not one more tower defense game or farm city friend game.)