TEDxManhattan Heroes: David Binkle

As TEDxManhattan 2014 approaches, we've asked this year's speakers to introduce themselves by answering a few questions. Today we feature David Binkle, Director of Food Services for the Los Angeles Unified School District.

What's the topic you'll be speaking about?

How Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has changed the way 650,000 students eat daily. The talk will cover how the school district has embraced changing the food served in the school meal program. Beginning the journey in 2002 the LAUSD banned carbonated soda drinks with the passage of the board policy called the "Healthy Beverage Motion." Following the hotly contested movement towards healthy lifestyles, the follow-up came in the form of the "Healthy Snack Motion" in 2004, which limited the snacks sold and served to children on school campuses. Subsequent years saw the development of the Cafeteria Reform Motion (2005 ) and Obesity Prevention Motion.

With 80% of district students living in circumstances of poverty, nutrition education is the key component to teaching the importance of the prevention of disease and the reduction of childhood obesity through nutrition and physical fitness.

Why is this important?

The importance of the change embraces the LAUSD's "I'm In" 5-year campaign to educate students, parents and staff on the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. With 80% of district students living in circumstances of poverty, nutrition education is the key component to teaching the importance of the prevention of disease and the reduction of childhood obesity through nutrition and physical fitness.

Are there other projects you're also passionate about right now – either yours or someone else's?

Share Our Strength's "No Kid Hungry" campaign is ending childhood hunger by connecting kids to the healthy food they need, every day. The SOS website indicates that "Nearly one in five children in America lives in households that struggle to put food on the table. They may look no different than other children; child hunger in America is often invisible. They are hurting, just the same." Seeing firsthand the impact of homeless children on the streets of Los Angeles is deeply troubling and appalling all the same.

Secondly, I am passionate about the 13 part PBS Series "Food Forward," which "opens the door into a new world of possibility, where pioneers and visionaries who are creating viable alternatives to the pressing social and environmental impacts of our industrial food system. Across the country, a vanguard of food rebels--farmers, chefs, fishermen, teachers, scientists, and entrepreneurs--are creating inspired, but practical solutions that are nourishing us and the planet. These are stories America needs to hear. Food Forward is also a volunteer powered grassroots group of Angelenos who care about reconnecting to our food system and making change around urban hunger."

Which other 2014 TEDxManhattan speakers are you excited about hearing?

I am looking forward to hearing Tom Colicchio and the expansion on "A Place at the Table," Participant Media's documentary about food insecurity in America, which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. I am working on a documentary project "Our Food Chain" to show the relationship to healthy eating while focusing on the waste of food as well.

Where can more information about your project be found?

More information can be found at http://cafe-la.lausd.net/


TEDxManhattan, “Changing the Way We Eat,,” will take place March 1, 2014 at the TimesCenter in New York City.  Interested in joining the day? You can host or attend a viewing party in your community. You can also watch the talks live on March 1 at new.livestream.com/tedx/manhattan2014. For more information, please visit http://www.tedxmanhattan.org/.