Farmworker-turned-organic farm owner, Maria Catalán with translator.

If there isn’t a TED talk on it, how do we know it’s worth talking about?

That’s how it can feel these days, as the short videos — recorded at conferences around the world — have slowly populated nearly every corner of the internet. There’s a definite allure to watching geniuses break down big ideas into bite-size bits.

But the foundation arm of sustainability-focused food service company Bon Appetit Management Company (BAMCO) chose to host a TEDx* conference on something most of us never see. Instead of featuring slick technologists or designers waxing rhapsodic about elegant ideas for a brave new future, farmworkers took the stage to share the hardscrabble realities of their present. The subject matter won’t surprise those who know BAMCO — they’ve been shining a light on farmworker issue for some time now — but the conference, and the videos that came out of it, provide a view into something much grittier and harder to summarize than what we see covered in most TED talks.