playlist

Plantastic!

Green, leafy, often delicious: Plants are all around us and make the ecosystem work. Hear from gardeners, vegetarians, designers and conservationists on the wonderful world of plants and vegetables.

  1. 18:25
    Suzanne Simard How trees talk to each other

    "A forest is much more than what you see," says ecologist Suzanne Simard. Her 30 years of research in Canadian forests have led to an astounding discovery — trees talk, often and over vast distances. Learn more about the harmonious yet complicated social lives of trees and prepare to see the natural world with new eyes.

  2. 11:25
    Sam Van Aken How one tree grows 40 different kinds of fruit

    Artist Sam Van Aken shares the breathtaking work behind the "Tree of 40 Fruit," an ongoing series of hybridized fruit trees that grow 40 different varieties of peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines and cherries — all on the same tree. What began as an art project to showcase beautiful, multi-hued blossoms has become a living archive of rare heirloom specimens and their histories, a hands-on (and delicious!) way to teach people about cultivation and a vivid symbol of the need for biodiversity to ensure food security. "More than just food, embedded in these fruit is our culture ... In many ways, these fruit are our story," Van Aken says.

  3. 7:53
    Britta Riley A garden in my apartment

    Britta Riley wanted to grow her own food (in her tiny apartment). So she and her friends developed a system for growing plants in discarded plastic bottles — researching, testing and tweaking the system using social media, trying many variations at once and quickly arriving at the optimal system. Call it distributed DIY. And the results? Delicious.

  4. 6:42
    tobacco brown What gardening taught me about life

    Gardens are mirrors of our lives, says environmental artist tobacco brown, and we must cultivate them with care to harvest their full beauty. Drawing on her experience bringing natural public art installations to cities around the world, brown reveals what gardening can teach us about creating lives of compassion, connection and grace.

  5. 9:12
    Shubhendu Sharma How to grow a forest in your backyard

    Forests don't have to be far-flung nature reserves, isolated from human life. Instead, we can grow them right where we are — even in cities. Eco-entrepreneur and TED Fellow Shubhendu Sharma grows ultra-dense, biodiverse mini-forests of native species in urban areas by engineering soil, microbes and biomass to kickstart natural growth processes. Follow along as he describes how to grow a 100-year-old forest in just 10 years, and learn how you can get in on this tiny jungle party.

  6. 8:14
    Graham Hill Why I'm a weekday vegetarian

    We all know the arguments that being vegetarian is better for the environment and for the animals — but in a carnivorous culture, it can be hard to make the change. Graham Hill has a powerful, pragmatic suggestion: Be a weekday veg.

  7. 10:46
    Ron Finley A guerrilla gardener in South Central LA

    Ron Finley plants vegetable gardens in South Central LA — in abandoned lots, traffic medians, along the curbs. Why? For fun, for defiance, for beauty and to offer some alternative to fast food in a community where "the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys."

  8. 6:41
    Suzanne Lee Grow your own clothes

    Designer Suzanne Lee shares her experiments in growing a kombucha-based material that can be used like fabric or vegetable leather to make clothing. The process is fascinating, the results are beautiful (though there's still one minor drawback ...) and the potential is simply stunning.

  9. 13:49
    Joanne Chory How supercharged plants could slow climate change

    Plants are amazing machines — for millions of years, they've taken carbon dioxide out of the air and stored it underground, keeping a crucial check on the global climate. Plant geneticist Joanne Chory is working to amplify this special ability: with her colleagues at the Salk Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory, she's creating plants that can store more carbon, deeper underground, for hundreds of years. Learn more about how these supercharged plants could help slow climate change. (This ambitious plan is a part of the Audacious Project, TED's initiative to inspire and fund global change.)

  10. 13:43
    Stephen Ritz A teacher growing green in the South Bronx

    A whirlwind of energy and ideas, Stephen Ritz is a teacher in New York's tough South Bronx, where he and his kids grow lush gardens for food, greenery — and jobs. Just try to keep up with this New York treasure as he spins through the many, many ways there are to grow hope in a neighborhood many have written off, or in your own.

  11. 12:23
    Devita Davison How urban agriculture is transforming Detroit

    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."

  12. 18:19
    Cary Fowler One seed at a time, protecting the future of food

    The wheat, corn and rice we grow today may not thrive in a future threatened by climate change. Cary Fowler takes us inside the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a vast treasury buried within a frozen mountain in Norway, that stores a diverse group of food-crop seeds ... for whatever tomorrow may bring.

  13. 10:07
    Pam Warhurst How we can eat our landscapes

    What should a community do with its unused land? Plant food, of course. With energy and humor, Pam Warhurst tells at the TEDSalon the story of how she and a growing team of volunteers came together to turn plots of unused land into communal vegetable gardens, and to change the narrative of food in their community.

  14. 13:57
    Jill Farrant How we can make crops survive without water

    As the world's population grows and the effects of climate change come into sharper relief, we'll have to feed more people using less arable land. Molecular biologist Jill Farrant studies a rare phenomenon that may help: "resurrection plants" — super-resilient plants that seemingly come back from the dead. Could they hold promise for growing food in our coming hotter, drier world?