Let’s Talk TEDx!

They were sitting everywhere at Bellarmine.

Boy-O-Boy, TEDx Manhattan made a huge splash in Louisville. More than 300 people were in attendance for the local event hosted by Grasshoppers Distribution this past Saturday at Bellarmine University.

The event was kicked off with a welcome by co-sponsor and hostess, Emily Bingham. She and her husband, Stephen Reilly were the force behind bringing TEDx Manhattan to Louisville. Stephen was in attendance in New York and was asked to speak about Louisville and our local food movement.

Master of Ceremonies and Chief Organizer, Caroline Heine, of Heine Brothers Coffee, did a fantastic job helping the crowd transition throughout the day from webcast to live speakers and entertainment. During the first session of the day, as Karen Hudson, President of the Dairy Education Alliance spoke, delicious yogurt and milk was provided to all attendees from JD Country Milk and Grasshoppers Distribution.

Plenty of healthy food available at TEDx

At the break, the music of local band, Vessel, filled the air as attendees enjoyed a local foods lunch provided by Nancy Schoenhoff. The homemade applesauce, wheatberry salad, sorghum cookie and choice of turkey or egg salad sandwich was a tasty way to experience the delights of local foods in Louisville. As people ate, they spent time mingling and shopping at the mini-farmer’s market. Many local producers and farmers were on hand to answer questions and educate on the importance of buying local foods.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer kicked off the second half of the day with a fantastic speech on his vision for the local food industry in Louisville. He intends to make food a priority in the coming year, by working with local organizations like Grasshoppers as well as farmers to build awareness and economic growth.

Mary Berry Smith, Henry County Kentucky native and daughter of Wendell Berry, spoke to the importance of supporting local agriculture and transition efforts by farmers moving tobacco to food. Local farmer and co-founder/owner of Grasshoppers, Ivor Chodkowski then expanded on her message, sharing how we can make an impact buying local foods. Ivor then brought Ellen McGeeney, Director of Operations and co-owner of Grasshoppers, to the stage. Ellen revealed our new initiative, Seed Capital, which is being designed to help the small local farmer. She gave a call to action, imploring people to invest in local foods by helping the very people who keep us fed, the farmer.

The day continued with two more webcast sessions and a panel discussion led by local farmers, Ivor Chodkowski, Patrick Kennedy, Willis Schrock, Mary Courtney and Cassia Herron, Louisville Metro Economic Development Officer.

Rounding out the day was a challenge made by TEDx Manhattan to break the cycle of poverty, change the food system, reduce healthcare costs and re-circulate dollars within the community. We were blessed to have such an inspiring day of speakers, food and fun!