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This is the TED Talks of the modern food movement


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Photos: Pexels/Splitshire

Think back to your childhood grocery store trips with your family. “Certified organic” labels were probably few and far between, and locally sourced products were nowhere to be found. We’ve come a long way from big-box corps monopolizing the shelves: Entire supermarkets sections are dedicated to making healthy choices, and large-scale sustainable options have gone mainstream. (Raise your hand if you’ve hit Whole Foods this week….)

“Food advocates have been working for 40 years to get people to understand organic and local, to eat healthier, and the impact of processed food,” explains food advocate Diane Hatz. Cleary, they’re doing something right. “Last year, 5.7 billion dollars were invested in food startups,” she says. “People have woken up and want to know where their food is coming from.”

She credits the growth of local farmers’ markets and increased organic food sales to helping spark the shift. “When I first started out as a food advocate, grocery stores did not have local or organic foods,” she says. “Now, almost every single store in America does!”

We’ve come a long way from big-box corps monopolizing the shelves

And what it means to speak up for the good food movement is evolving, too. “Dig Inn’s founder, Adam Eskin, doesn’t realize he’s a food advocate but he is,” Hatz says of the healthy fast-casual chain. “He wants to source locally and cares about how the workers are treated on farms. That’s what I—as a food advocate—have been working toward for so long.”

And now it’s time to celebrate—and keep the momentum going.

Enter the first annual Change Food Fest, a three-day, good-for-your-body-and-ethos event taking place in New York City November 12–13.

“People have woken up and want to know where their food is coming from.”

The weekend-long event—which was organized by Hatz and will be live-streamed at viewing parties all over the world—will feature TED-like talks, interactive panels, dinners, and activities sprinkled in between. The 18-speaker list includes Eskin, along with Sophia Mendelsohn, JetBlue‘s head of sustainability, who is working to make airline food—gasp!—healthier and locally sourced;  Sir Kensington’s CEO, Scott Norton, the guy turning food waste into brilliant new products like Fabanaise; and Annalyn Lavey of Square Roots Urban Grower, an urban farming accelerator solving the garden-space issue with vertical ingenuity.

In other words, thought-provoking and inspiring topics that will have you rethinking what you’re ordering for lunch.

What’s the deal with GMOs anyway? Here’s what you need to know about the latest bill President Obama signed. It’s just one of the health issues you should know about before voting on November 8

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