11-Year-Old Describes Broken Food System in Five Minutes (VIDEO) | Civil Eats

11-Year-Old Describes Broken Food System in Five Minutes (VIDEO)

Last month, an 11-year-old had much to say about the perils of the American food system. Speaking at a TED conference for young people called TEDx in Asheville, North Carolina, Birke Baehr discussed food irradiation, GMOs, CAFOs, farm run-off, the problem with marketing food to kids and more, all in five minutes. On the subject of paying more for better quality food, Baehr said, “With all the things I’m learning about the food system, it seems to me that we can either pay the farmer or pay the hospital.”

He also talked about his future aspirations. “Awhile back I wanted to be an NFL football player. Now, I’ve decided I’d rather be an organic farmer instead,” he said to the cheering audience. “That way I can have a greater impact on the world.”

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Paula Crossfield is a founder and the Editor-at-large of Civil Eats. She is also a co-founder of the Food & Environment Reporting Network. Her reporting has been featured in The Nation, Gastronomica, Index Magazine, The New York Times and more, and she has been a contributing producer at The Leonard Lopate Show on New York Public Radio. An avid cook and gardener, she currently lives in Oakland. Read more >

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  1. I absolutely love this video. If an 11-year old can grasp the concept and see what's wrong (with some adult help I'm sure), I hope that adults can recognize what's going on as well. Thanks for sharing this. Gives hope.
  2. Absolutely fantastic. What an inspirational speaker you are, Birke and so knowledgeable too. Thanks for giving us hope for the future - with more people like you growing up to rule the world, we'll be in safe hands
  3. tricia baehr
    As Birke's Mom I can assure you that he researched these subjects and wrote his TEDx talk.

    As a matter of fact, he saw a post when he was 8 about mercury in HFCS which spurred his curiousity thus changing how our entire family thinks about food.
  4. Thanks so much for this beautiful video. It is great to see such a clear presentation of what is not working and what is working (love the lunatic farmer description of joel salatin) but to see it from an 11 year old is especially meaningful.
    Appreciate your work...and it is inspiring for my web site smartlifeways.com
  5. Correction: Should be "... called TEDxNextGenerationAsheville". The current wording implies that the "TEDx brand" is for young people, when it's really just an independently organized event.


  6. Jake
    This is great! Good job Birke
  7. Joy Garscadden
    My dad would say the kid was coached by his liberal parents to believe that organic/climate change bs.
    I would say he's great! My kid did a project like this at 11 for her 5th grade exhibition project. If they can "get it" why can't we?
    Oh, and I love kale chips and shun sparkly cereal too!
    Congrats to Tricia for raising a great little aware and concerned citizen there!
  8. GoneWithTheWind
    Unbelievable. This poor kid has been mind controlled by the BS and propaganda. Phony stories about lab rats getting cancer. I doubt I could counter the massive propaganda campaign this kid was subjected to so I will only give him one piece of advice: When you start your organic farm don't forget to incorporate.
  9. Even if you were right "Gone with the Wind" about so called "phony" stories. I DON'T WANT to eat GMO food (which there are no "phony" lab results, because they've never tested it), I don't want to eat TBHQ, or BHT or High Fructose Corn Syrup, or any of the multitude of chemicals they put in processed food and that is my RIGHT as an AMERICAN to be able to CHOOSE. If you don't mind, then that is YOUR right, but when Monsanto sues dairy farmers to take "we don't use rBGH" off the label, that's facist, un-American and dangerous.
  10. Jon
    Go do some research "GoneWithTheWind", this kid speaks nothing but truth.
  11. GoneWithTheWind
    67 years of research!
    We have all been eating GMO foods without any negative effects. As for HFCS, it is essentially the same as table sugar. Your body turns all sugar and all other carbohydrates into glucose. Your body does not know or care where the carbohydrates came from. As for chemicals; in general most plants are made up of 10,000 chemicals give or take a few hundred. If you listed the chemicals in your organic tomato it would scare the organic fiber out of you. Most plants make their own pesticides as well and most of these natural pesticides are more toxic then man made pesticides. The toxicity is in the does! That is anything in excess can kill you and almost everything has a safe level of ingestion.
  12. Kaisenji
    67 yrs? Great. Perhaps you have heard of the saying "ain't no fool like an old fool". Relax, man people are allowed to think as they think so long as they do so with proper research. Some see the chemicals as bad and avoid them; others who spend years in "research" think it is all BS and say so.

    In the end should this boy grow up still thinking for 67 years is he still wrong? Better yet, what harm is it doing to your way of thinking personally if he decides to think this way?
  13. GoneWithTheWind
    It just depends on if you want to know truth or are satisfied with superstition. The hucksters and snake oil salemen would like to sell you some superstition and it isn't cheap. Food and supplements are their favorite way to part you from your money. In a world full of misinformation and superstition it is helpful for people to stand up and disagree with the fraud and lies.
  14. elizabeth
    my guess is that gonewiththewind works for monsanto.

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