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Sustainable food at the movies

June 18, 2009

Green Living

As someone with a background in health education and communications, I am happy to see more and more food documentaries hitting the big screens. While I think movies like “Food, Inc.” (and “End of the Line” in particular) are important to educate the public on food issues, I appreciate those that are also showing solutions to the problems.

I really enjoyed seeing the film “Fresh” recently on the shift towards sustainable food. It was great to see Will Alen’s Growing Power. He was very enthusiastic about his composting worms! And I loved finally meeting farmer Joel Salatin and hear his respect on the “chickenness” of the chicken. The premiere had a panel that included Director Ana Sofia Joanes and Michael Pollan.

A new (more grassroots) film prides itself in showing what people are doing in their own backyards in an urban environment, and with their own resources. It’s called Edible City, and shows the movers and shakers in sustainable ag in the SF Bay Area.  I’m not talking about Alice Waters or Michael Pollan here, though the producers have tried to include them in the film with no luck yet.

I’m talking about everyday people like Joy Moore or Jim Montgomery, who are taking matters in their own hands growing their own food and teaching others what real food is.I had the pleasure of seeing clips on such folks when I met with one of the movie’s producers. East Bay Pictures has been holding fundraisers for the last six months, but still needs thousands of dollars to finish the film. The clips are nicely shot and edited so far, and feature groups like MyFarm, along with interviews of Roots of Change and Food First.

One of the most poignant parts of the movie shows teacher and farmer Jim Montgomery, who raises chickens, rabbits, and goats in his own backyard in Berkely slaughtering a rabbit. He explains that as the grandson of a farmer and a conscious omnivore, he believes everyone should at some point confront killing the animals they plan to eat and should otherwise be vegetarians. My favorite part was seeing Jim take his goats out for a walk, past Jack in the Box. Brilliant!

Watching Joy Moore teach high school teens to farm and make their own meals at Berkeley High made me smile. A graduate of the UC Santa Cruz farming apprenticeship, she has these underpriviledged kids plant strawberries and later make smoothies.

You can help finish production of the film by purchasing a $50 DVD or giving a donation. Watch clips here.

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