Last nights Tedx Salon talk was easily one of the more intense discussions. Tedx (Salon) talks allow for a few questions and answers after each speaker. Each one gets the prescribed 18 minutes to speak on their various topics, a video is shown and then there’s a Q and A. Almost always the audience has a certain level of decorum, or perhaps a level of understanding that the people giving the talks are not your sworn enemy. But, because the topic was somewhat personal, in that it had something to do with the things people eat; there were a load of tough questions asked. In fact, I think some of the speakers got grilled.
Thomas gave a great talk about the future of cattle ranching in Alberta, including some great photography and details about challenges faced by food producers in the coming years. More of what he does can be explained by checking out his site. Some members of the audience had questions regarding the environment that cattle are kept in. Mostly due to the dubious nature of feed lots and some of the negative connotations that come with them. But, Thomas gave a lot of really good explanations about what cattle need, mostly warmth and food, which is what feedlots provide. Because of the weather here in Alberta they have become a necessary evil, but one that has certainly improved over the years along with the systems an genomics that have improved beef production both in terms of it’s carbon footprint and product output.
Carol Neuman‘s talk was about heritage food, and how tradition and heritage has shaped what is available in our communities. Personally, I live this pretty consistently since my Grandmother is a Ukrainian import, who married a French Canadian/Iroquois engineer. No doubt there’s a trickle down effect from this to my family. Every holiday the family gets together and enjoys some wonderful food, cooked from recipes passed down from the last few generations. In my home we grow food in our backyard, which supplies a lot of our food during the summer. The idea of tradition exists within this as I have very distinct memories of helping my mother with her garden as a child and also my Great Grandmothers garden. Largely the question of ‘tradition’, ‘authenticity’, and ‘heritage’ is both highly personal and individually cultivated. Not everything that is to one is the same for someone else. But that if we seek out a heritage in our food, we can travel far and wide but never really leave our communities. Carol’s talk delved into this idea that if we continue to foster a sense of tradition it will make for healthier individuals, and subsequently healthier communities at large.
The final talk of the evening was from Meghan Dear who has spearheaded the Localize project. The project is aimed at making sense of the numerous labels we see in our supermarkets, of which in Canada there are over 200. By using technology (QR codes) one can scan a Localize label and get distilled summery of the environmental, social and economical impact that the brand is touting. It is an interesting project that has a great deal of potential to reduce consumer confusion and make the brands accountable to the consumer.
Here’s some of the photos from the event. Tedx Edmonton will be using more on their on site soon. June 15th, is the big Tedx event is called “The future of”, which I will also be photographing.