As we continue to endure tough economic times, many of us turn to fast food and cheap grocery store options in order to feed ourselves without depleting our wallets. Fresh the Movie shows how these choices are unwise, unhealthy, and unsustainable. However, instead of focusing on this bleak reality, the film highlights examples of sustainable and natural farming, offering hope and an avenue for moving away from shortsighted industrialized farming techniques.
Sustainable farmers Russ Kremer, Joel Salatin (also featured in Food, Inc.), and Will Allen (growingpower.org) advocate for organic and localized agriculture as an alternative to the highly efficient, and grossly expedient, methods of industrial agriculture. The film praises Salatin’s method of farming various animals and plants on the same land, which is self-sustaining and modeled after a natural pattern of grazing and movement. As Salatin says, “Part of our duty as stewards of the earth is to respect the design of nature.” Although somewhat proverbial in nature, the axiom works for Salatin his acreage is being utilized and his customers couldn’t be happier.
In contrast, the natural design that Salatin follows is corrupted and fractured by industrial farming techniques. While Salatin’s cycle of dependence and utility incorporates livestock and agriculture, industrial farming prescribes one product per facility to yield the highest amount of product. “We took the solution plants and animals working together and we divided it neatly into two problems,” explains author Michael Pollan.
Although the film echoes ideas similar to those of recently released Food, Inc., such as the idea that each dollar spent on food is also a vote, Fresh focuses largely on how farmers are already solving the problems of industrialized farming for their local communities. For this reason, the upcoming screening of Fresh will be preceded by a free reception featuring the food of the event’s co-sponsors: the IV Food Co-op, Fairview Gardens, Avalon Farms, Edible Gardens, Edible Santa Barbara magazine, County Landscape, Owen Dell, and others soon to be announced. The screening will also be followed by a discussion of Santa Barbara’s future in terms of sustainability and healthiness, to which local farmers, activists, chefs, and policy-makers are invited. The film is also part of the Save Goleta Farmland campaign that combats the proposed re-zoning or redevelopment of existing agricultural land in Goleta.
At the very least, see this movie to enjoy the beauty of luscious green farms teeming with happy, cage-free animals. Who knows, you just might find yourself drawn to the fresh, healthy food world as well. To learn more and to get involved visit the film’s website freshthemovie.com.
Fresh the Movie screens Tuesday, July 28 at the Goleta Valley Community Center (5679 Hollister Ave. at 6 p.m. Call 434-3950 or visit hopedance.org.