TED Talks on Agriculture

Are indoor vertical farms the future of agriculture?

Stuart Oda | 9 minutes

By 2050, the global population is projected to reach 9.8 billion. How are we going to feed everyone? Investment-banker-turned-farmer Stuart Oda points to indoor vertical farming: growing food on tiered racks in a controlled, climate-proof environment. In a forward-looking talk, he explains how this method can maintain better safety standards, save money, use less water and help us provide for future generations.

The other inconvenient truth

Jonathan Foley | 17 minutes

A skyrocketing demand for food means that agriculture has become the largest driver of climate change, biodiversity loss and environmental destruction. Jonathan Foley shows why we desperately need to begin "terraculture" -- farming for the whole planet.

A personal story about farming and the future of agriculture

Mark Jackson | 7 minutes

In 1890, Mark Jackson's great-great-great-grandfather bought a plot of land in southern Iowa. Five generations later, Mark is still farming that same land but using some very different techniques. In this moving story that crosses generations, Mark shows us both how radically agriculture has changed since that time, and the ways some things have stayed exactly the same.

What if the best fertilizer was an algorithm

Laxmi Parida | 10 minutes

Beset by plunging biodiversity, pathogens and skyrocketing populations, our global food supply is at risk — but solutions that rely on chemicals and GMOs come with their own problems. Laxmi Parida proposes an organic solution instead: math.

A global food crisis may be less than a decade away

Sara Menker | 17 minutes

Sara Menker quit a career in commodities trading to figure out how the global value chain of agriculture works. Her discoveries have led to some startling predictions: "We could have a tipping point in global food and agriculture if surging demand surpasses the agricultural system's structural capacity to produce food," she says. "People could starve and governments may fall." Menker's models predict that this scenario could happen in a decade -- that the world could be short 214 trillion calories per year by 2027. She offers a vision of this impossible world as well as some steps we can take today to avoid it.

How urban agriculture is transforming Detroit

Devita Davison | 12 minutes

There's something amazing growing in the city of Detroit: healthy, accessible, delicious, fresh food. In a spirited talk, fearless farmer Devita Davison explains how features of Detroit's decay actually make it an ideal spot for urban agriculture. Join Davison for a walk through neighborhoods in transformation as she shares stories of opportunity and hope. "These aren't plots of land where we're just growing tomatoes and carrots," Davison says. "We're building social cohesion as well as providing healthy, fresh food."

Crop insurance, an idea worth seeding

Rose Goslinga | 10 minutes

Across sub-Saharan Africa, small farmers are the bedrock of national and regional economies—unless the weather proves unpredictable and their crops fail. The solution is insurance, at a vast, continental scale, and at a very low, affordable cost. Rose Goslinga and the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture pioneered an unconventional way to give farmers whose crops fail early a second chance at a growing season.

What's wrong with our food system

Birke Baehr | 5 minutes

At a TEDx event, 11-year-old Birke Baehr presents his take on a major source of our food -- far-away and less-than-picturesque industrial farms. Keeping farms out of sight promotes a rosy, unreal picture of big-box agriculture, he argues, as he outlines the case to green and localize food production.

Hunger isn't a food issue. It's a logistics issue.

Esther Ndichu | 11 minutes

Most people presume that world hunger is caused by a lack of food. But Esther Ndichu, Humanitarian Supply Chain Director at UPS, argues that the real issue is logistics. She points out that farmers often struggle to get goods to market and that food often rots just miles from the neediest people. She explains that by fixing "the last mile" hunger can be solved in our lifetime.

Why you should stop at your local farmers market

Mohammed Modarres | 6 minutes

The average farmer in America makes less than 15 cents of every dollar on a product that you purchase at a store. They feed our communities, but farmers often cannot afford the very foods they grow. In this actionable talk, social entrepreneur Mohammad Modarres shows how to put your purchasing power into action to save local agriculture from collapse and transform the food industry from the bottom up.