Guest posts are contributed by (you guessed it!) guest contributors and the views expressed within them do not always reflect the opinions of the Ecocentric blog.

Climate Change and Vulnerability

Climate change impacts more than just the Earth's temperature. It makes extreme weather events such as floods, droughts and storms more frequent. Water and land access become more difficult - and as a result, the globe's agriculture systems and food security is threatened as the worldwide population continues to grow.

Our Heroes: Stacey Murphy at BK Farmyards

Spreading urban farming and food systems know-how to strengthen local communities is Stacey Murphy's expertise. The founder of BK Farmyards, Stacey has been helping others learn and start farms in New York since 2009, and she's got a big plans ahead. Read about BK Farmyards' work and vision in our interview with Stacey here.

Our Heroes: Karen Washington, Urban Farming Leader

"We must hold true that healthy food is a right for all and not a privilege for some." Meet Karen Washington, an urban farmer from the Bronx, NY. A leader in the urban farming movement, Karen has spent thirty years strengthening New York City's local food system in low-income communities and bolstering black leadership in farming.

TEDxManhattan Heroes: Dana Cowin

"If we can redefine what we believe is desirable in food we can reduce waste and, at the same time, embrace and eat delicious, nutritious food." Food & Wine magazine editor-in-chief Dana Cowin will bring "ugly" produce front and center at TEDxManhattan 2015, happening this Saturday.

TEDxManhattan Heroes: Ali Partovi

This Saturday, Ali Partovi will speak at TEDxManhattan 2015 along with many other influential movers and shakers of the food movement. Focusing on debunking misperceptions of organic and sustainable food that hold the movement back, Ali will show us why sustainable agriculture is economically and politically feasible.

TEDxManhattan Heroes: Shen Tong

"Systemic changes are needed to disrupt the current horrific state of industrial farming and food system. Food needs to be efficient and enjoyable again." Meet one of this year's TEDxManhattan speakers, Shen Tong. An entrepreneur and founder of Food-X, Shen will discuss the skills and funding needed to help disruptive food innovators create lasting change in our food system.

TEDxManhattan Heroes: Marcel Van Ooyen

Meet Marcel Van Ooyen, executive director of GrowNYC, who will speak about "the 99% food problem" at this year's TEDxManhattan event in March. GrowNYC's is working to scale up local food distribution to make local less niche, more mainstream, by helping "family farmers to access wholesale distribution channels that make up 99% of the food that enters New York City."

TEDxManhattan Heroes: Michele Merkel

"(W)hen you are confronting entrenched power, the legal wins are often preceded by defeats and can come at great personal expense to those on the front lines. This is certainly true in the food movement, which is still in its nascent stages." 2015 TEDxMenhattan speaker Michele Merkel is an environmental law advocate at Food & Water Watch.

TEDxManhattan Heroes: Kendra Kimbirauskas

Meet Kendra Kimbirauskas, CEO of the Socially Responsible Agricultural Project (SRAP). As one of this year's TEDxManhattan speakers, Kendra will address why, despite a more educated consumer audience, the US is experiencing unprecedented growth of factory farms in rural communities. Plus, she offers five actions you can take if a factory farm comes to your area.

TEDxManhattan Heroes: Stefanie Sacks

"As food and nutrition confusion abounds, many are paralyzed not knowing who to trust or what to do. With a little inspiration and practical education, shifting is possible." Meet one of this year's TEDxManhattan speakers, Stephanie Sacks, a culinary nutritionist and author of the new book What The Fork Are You Eating?

TEDxManhattan Heroes: Robert Graham

"Transitioning an abandoned rooftop into a beautiful urban space - one that nourishes the mind, the body, and the soul of our hospital staff is good medicine." As a speaker at this year's TEDxManhattan, Robert Graham will explain the value of integrating traditional medicine's respect for food, cooking and farming with modern medicine.

TEDxManhattan Heroes: Stephen Reily

With a background in law, business, and social entrepreneurship, TEDxManhattan speaker Stephen Reily sees the food movement's need for economic and community development tools to help meet unmet demand for local food. As founder and director of Seed Capital Kentucky, Stephen works to bolster the regional food economy in Louisville.

TEDxManhattan Heroes: Henry Hargreaves

In the world of food photos, photographer Henry Hargreaves takes the genre to the next level. As a speaker at this year's TEDxManhattan, he will talk about his process as an artist fascinated with people's relationships to food, and why food photos are such a powerful medium.

TEDxManhattan Heroes: Danny Meyer

"I'm fascinated by anyone in our industry who is working to make better food - by which I mean more carefully sourced and lovingly prepared - more accessible to more people, by making it quicker, less expensive, and available in more than one location." Meet Danny Meyer, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group, whose TED talk will focus on sustainable food in restaurants of all kinds.

TEDxManhattan Heroes: Danielle Nierenberg

"When women have the right resources and tools, they have extraordinary potential. Investing in women farmers brings unique multiplier effects." Meet Danielle Nierenberg, president of Food Tank and one of this year's TEDxManhattan speakers, whose talk will focus on women farmers in the developing world.

TEDxManhattan Heroes: Ietef 'DJ Cavem Moetavation' Vita

Hip hop and food issues are intertwined. Big food corporations like McDonald's use hip hop to sell burgers and fries, but food justice activist, international recording artist and one of this year's TEDxManhattan speakers DJ Cavem wants to flip the coin. He wants to see hip hop used to promote health and fresh food access.

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