TEDxUMontana: exciting ideas at the University of Montana
TEDxUMontana speaker Neva Hassanein is dedicated to strengthening Montana’s food system.
Why did you want to speak at TEDxUMontana?
I wanted to share my passion for food democracy and sustainable, community-based food systems. The idea of food democracy helps us to understand the titanic struggle going on around the food system and encourages us to move from being passive consumers to active food citizens.
What was your reaction when you found out you were selected as a speaker?
Thrilled. I am excited to meet the challenge of sharing my ideas in a compelling, concise way, and to do that with my friend and colleague, Mark LoParco, head of UM’s Dining Services.
What inspires you about TED talks?
Ideally, TED talks get the audience to think about new ideas and instigate meaningful change. I appreciate the range of topics that have been covered. TEDx at the University of Montana will not only be a great way to build our sense of community, but we’ll also be sharing some of the great work happening here to others in the world.
How do you want to change the world?
I think about this question a lot. I am convinced that incremental change through civic engagement can ultimately be transformative. For me, that starts at the local level, while keeping an eye towards the big picture. I try to do my part by working to improve policy and build sustainable alternatives to the dominant food system. As an educator, I hope to inspire my students to follow their passions and to help them build the skills and contacts they need to become effective social change agents.
What are you passionate about beyond your work?
I love to spend time in the natural world, whether gardening in my backyard, hunting edible mushrooms, or hiking and cross-country skiing. Cooking good food and sharing it with friends over a long meal with lively, often political, conversation gives me great pleasure.