Birke Baehr, 11-Year-Old Activist, Might Brainwash My Kid


birke baehrWhen I was little, I used to tell people I wanted to be a part-time nun, part-time artist when I grew up. Turns out, I developed into an agnostic (at best) who can’t really draw. Although kids today seem to have things much more figured out, I couldn’t help being awed and slightly suspicious of Birke Baehr, an 11-year-old activist who is very passionate about organic farming. He is also very convincing. In fact, he says:

"A while back I wanted to be an NFL football player. I decided I'd rather be an organic farmer instead."

He's got a lot of great things to say, too, which I whole-heartedly agree with. I'm just slightly creeped out by him, as it feels like someone took his little pre-teen brain and thoroughly washed it.

Maybe I'm being too misanthropic and hypocritical. If you were to ask my 6-year-old, she'd tell you she wants to be a masseuse -- a direct result of my pleas for her to work on the kinks in my neck. (Her touch is a little soft, but it's utterly adorable.) That is, until I show her this video. After which there's little doubt that she'll want to be an organic farmer as well, and probably home-schooled like suave little Birke.

Baehr is that good ... and that's what has me disturbed. Someone coached him and then pimped him out. Is it okay that this is for a good cause?

Certainly, it's better than baby beauty pageants. In fact, it's probably even better than child acting, which I have no problem with (God, I love Drew Barrymore in E.T.). Mainly, I'm having a slightly difficult time with this cute little kid talking about such serious -- and scary -- matters. At the beginning of his five-minute speech, Baehr says:

"I also used to think that all of our food came from these happy little farms where pigs rolled around in mud and cows grazed on grass all day. What I discovered is that this is not true."

From there he brings up fun little gems like our poisoned water supplies, CAFOs (Confined Animal Treatment Operations), and how hospital bills resulting from unhealthy eating is much more expensive than organic food, among others.

I worry that he's having nightmares.

And yet, he's really good. Watch the video.

What do you think of this 11-year-old activist?

books & media, education, inspiring kids, kids nutrition


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Beths... Bethsunshine

I think this kid needs to get outside and ride a bike like a normal 11 year old.

Nellyo Nellyo

I couldnt agree more: buy local, support local farms and you will do yourself and your community a favor.

sahma... sahmalama

I think he did a great job at researching a topic. Sounds like what kids should be doing with their time. And being 11, he's going to be totally passionate about a subject he's learned. I didn't see any major pimping or brainwashing, anymore than the school system does ( and yes, my kids go to public school). Great topic, definately something more American's should be aware of, not frightened of.

nonmember avatar tricia baehr

I'm Birke's Mom! And I can assure you there is no brainwashing in our home. As a matter of fact, Birke's curiosity over an online news story when he was 8 about mercury in HFCS inspired our entire family to change the way we eat and purchase food. If the fact that a kid researched, wrote and practiced a talk that he wanted to give creeps you out...then so be it! Birke and his siblings play outside probably more than what you would consider 'normal' (4-5 hours a day even in the rain with proper gear) AND he loves to ride his bike too! What he doesn't do is sit in front of a tv or video game console or spend 2 hours after public school doing 'homework'. Thanks for posting his TEDx talk!

Wendy Nelson

Please clear your mind of doubts and listen to the words that come from him, and his passion.

He is giving valuable information that can help our lives be healthier.

Take a close good look at the products you buy and consume, are you as informed as he?

Listen to his message.....a bright, knowledgeable young man making a huge difference because of his

caring and compassion.


Wendy Nelson

Rob Parker

I'm Birke's Mom's friend- and this author is not a very good judge of character. Birke is one of those kids that is like a midget he's so adult like in his personal conversations. He is very head-strong and takes every opportunity to learn. I've never met any young person who has such a ravenous appetite for knowledge. I've been shopping with them, out to dinner, and Birke is the person in his family that has the most influence over what food is consumed. He inspires me! He is non-stop full of life. I praise his mother not only for how she raises her three polite and interesting little people, but because she also listens and respond honestly to all their inquiries; if she doesn't know something, she doesn't blow off their question with a canned answer, she helps them investigate. Birke is an individual and I can assure you he rides bikes as well.

Rob Parker

Most 11 year olds cringe when they have to give a speech in class- try and imagine the work he put into memorizing his speech, and then giving that great delivery. My heart lumps up like a stone when I think of the time and effort I know he personally put into preparing for that event. I am so proud of Birke! I'm proud of his mama, and his entire family!

It doesn't take a village to raise a child- it takes hands-on, honest human beings, connected to a great and supportive family to produce extraordinary young people. That's the way traditional families were raised before the powers of industry separated people from the earth. 

Bob Hanna

I was personally involved with Birke's presentation and the TEDxNGA event. Birke is truly sharing his truth and those are his words. He has taken the time to educate himself about food and is deeply concerned about what we are eating and its health effects. This journey is available for anyone as the resources are out there. Birke is a passionate and educated youth who jumped at the opportunity to be part of the event. Oh yeah- he's a great person too!!! TEDxNGA believes that youth need to be part of the dialogue for change and Birke embodies this. Check out some of our more impressive speakers at

Maureen Mourao

Note to Bethsunshine....At least this kid is being raised to use his mind. He's perfectly mature and intelligent. I'd much rather see plenty more kids like him, than all the dumbed down kids attached to their TV sets and video games. This kid is obviously a future leader of America. We need as many people on board with turning this country around! God Bless him and the great parents who are raising him!!

Wendy Nelson

I have just a few more words to add to my other post. I find it sad for you, as a parent, that you don't seem to be listening to Birke's message, at a time when our food is being manipulated with GMO's for greed, not for health and or well being. You would certainly want the best food for your family. Birke is a very bright young man, not a child of 6, and he is very interesting as well as interested. He has a passion, and a voice that your words won't silence, and he seems to be a very caring and polite individual...

Go to your store and watch the average shopper, and or they care that much about the nutrition of their food? He brings out great points.


Wendy Nelson

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