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  • Hello. My name is Birke Baehr,

  • and I'm 11 years old.

  • I came here today to talk about what's wrong with our food system.

  • First of all, I would like to say

  • that I'm really amazed at how easily kids are led to believe

  • all the marketing and advertising

  • on TV, at public schools

  • and pretty much everywhere else you look.

  • It seems to me like corporations

  • are always trying to get kids like me

  • to get their parents to buy stuff

  • that really isn't good for us or the planet.

  • Little kids, especially,

  • are attracted by colorful packaging

  • and plastic toys.

  • I must admit, I used to be one of them.

  • I also used to think that all of our food

  • came from these happy, little farms

  • where pigs rolled in mud and cows grazed on grass all day.

  • What I discovered was this is not true.

  • I began to look into this stuff

  • on the internet, in books and in documentary films,

  • in my travels with my family.

  • I discovered the dark side of the industrialized food system.

  • First there's genetically engineered seeds and organisms.

  • That is when a seed is manipulated in a laboratory

  • to do something not intended by nature --

  • like taking the DNA of a fish

  • and putting it into the DNA of a tomato -- yuck.

  • Don't get me wrong, I like fish and tomatoes,

  • but this is just creepy.

  • (Laughter)

  • The seeds are then planted, then grow.

  • The food they produce have been proven

  • to cause cancer and other problems in lab animals.

  • And people have been eating food produced this way

  • since the 1990's.

  • And most folks don't even know they exist.

  • Did you know rats that ate genetically engineered corn

  • had developed signs of liver and kidney toxicity?

  • These include kidney inflammation and lesions and increased kidney weight.

  • Yet almost all the corn we eat

  • is altered genetically in some way.

  • And let me tell you,

  • corn is in everything.

  • And don't even get me started on the confined animal feeding operations.

  • called CAFOS.

  • (Laughter)

  • Conventional farmers use chemical fertilizers

  • made from fossil fuels

  • that they mix with the dirt to make plants grow.

  • They do this because they've stripped the soil of all nutrients

  • from growing the same crop over and over again.

  • Next, more harmful chemicals are sprayed on fruits and vegetables,

  • like pesticides and herbicides,

  • to kill weeds and bugs.

  • When it rains, these chemicals seep into the ground,

  • or run off into our waterways,

  • poisoning our water too.

  • Then they irradiate our food, trying to make it last longer,

  • so it can travel thousands of miles

  • from where it's grown to the supermarkets.

  • So I ask myself,

  • how can I change? How can I change these things?

  • This is what I found out.

  • I discovered that there's a movement for a better way.

  • Now a while back,

  • I wanted to be an NFL football player.

  • I decided that I'd rather be an organic farmer instead.

  • (Applause)

  • Thank you.

  • And that way I can have a greater impact on the world.

  • This man, Joel Salatin, they call him a lunatic farmer

  • because he grows against the system.

  • Since I'm home schooled,

  • I went to go hear him speak one day.

  • This man, this lunatic farmer,

  • doesn't use any pesticides, herbicides,

  • or genetically modified seeds.

  • And so for that, he's called crazy by the system.

  • I want you to know that we can all make a difference

  • by making different choices,

  • by buying our food directly from local farmers,

  • or our neighbors who we've known all our lives.

  • Some people say organic or local food is more expensive,

  • but is it really?

  • With all these things I've been learning about the food system,

  • it seems to me that we either pay the farmer,

  • or we can pay the hospital.

  • (Applause)

  • Now I know definitely what one I would choose.

  • I want you to know that there are farms out there --

  • like Bill Keener in Sequachie Cove Farm in Tennessee --

  • whose cows do eat grass

  • and whose pigs do roll in the mud, just like I thought.

  • Sometimes I go to Bill's farm and volunteer,

  • so I can see up close and personal

  • where the meat I eat comes from.

  • I want you to know that I believe

  • kids will eat fresh vegetables and good food

  • if they know more about it and where it really comes from.

  • I want you to know that there are farmers' markets

  • in every community, popping up.

  • I want you to know that me, my brother and sister

  • actually like eating baked kale chips.

  • I try to share this everywhere I go.

  • Not too long ago,

  • my uncle said that he offered my six year-old cousin cereal.

  • He asked if he wanted organic Toasted O's

  • or the sugar-coated flakes --

  • you know, the one with the big striped cartoon character on the front.

  • My little cousin told his dad

  • that he would rather have the organic Toasted O's cereal,

  • because, Birke said, he shouldn't eat sparkly cereal.

  • And that, my friends, is how we can make a difference

  • one kid at a time.

  • So next time you're at the grocery store, think local,

  • choose organic, know your farmer and know your food.

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

Hello. My name is Birke Baehr,

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B1 food system farmer organic genetically kidney cereal

【TED】Birke Baehr: What's wrong with our food system

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    康雅婷 posted on 2013/12/04
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