FRESH celebrates the farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are re-inventing our food system. Each has witnessed the rapid transformation of our agriculture into an industrial model, and confronted the consequences: food contamination, environmental pollution, depletion of natural resources, and morbid obesity. Forging healthier, sustainable alternatives, they offer a practical vision for a future of our food and our planet.
I was given a review copy of FRESH, the movie, and my husband and I enjoyed watching it. When the kids get back from their vacation in California, they'll be watching it, too.
Yes, what everybody says is true. This is a movie that leaves you with hope and excitement. Among others, the movie profiles two phenomenal men: Joel Salatin and Will Allen. I knew of Joel Salatin, but never had heard of Will Allen.
Two Of The Players
Will Allen, 6′ 7″ former professional basketball player, is now one of the most influential leaders of the food security and urban farming movement. His farm and not-for-profit, Growing Power, have trained and inspired people in every corner of the U.S. to start growing food sustainably. This man and his organization go beyond growing food. They provide a platform for people to share knowledge and form relationships in order to develop alternatives to the industrial food system.
Joel Salatin writes in his website that he is “in the redemption business: healing the land, healing the food, healing the economy, and healing the culture.” And if you visited his farm, you'd know he means it and lives it! He produces beef, chicken, eggs, turkey, rabbits, and forestry products. Yet, Joel calls himself a grass-farmer, for it is the grass that transform the sun into energy that his animals can then feed on. By closely observing nature, Joel created a rotational grazing system that not only allows the land to heal but also allows the animals to behave the way the were meant to — as in expressing their “chicken-ness” or “pig-ness”, as Joel would say.
What struck me is that we — you and me — are not so dissimilar from these now famous men. Any one of us, as the movie suggests and challenges, can do great and meaningful things about food for people, animals and the land, right where we are. Annette from Sustainable Eats comes to my mind — she resolved to stop growing a lawn, and grow food instead, on her 1/4 acre city lot in Seattle.
A highlight of the movie for me was a short portion in the Salatin's back yard (I presume) for a barbeque. Teresa Salatin, Joel's wife, said: “If you've come to see me, come any time. If you've come to see my house, make an appointment.” Oh, so true. So true!
My husband enjoyed seeing how the Salatins move their livestock from pasture to pasture, and how their chicken tractors function. The pastures are lush, the animals sleek and healthy. I loved the dark colors of the chickens. Reds and blacks. Obviously healthy animals and healthy land.
Will Allen's urban farm, Growing Power, is amazing. From ground level and up, he and his crew make use of every inch of growing space. They serve sustainably grown, real food to locals through sustainable farming workshops. I can just bet that people walk away amazed.
At the beginning of the film, Will Allen had said of modern society: “We just want, want, want. We want all this food, but we don't want to think about who's growing it, what the farmers have to go through. Whether they're making money. We don't worry about chemical residue on the food that lands on your plate. As long as it tastes good… No, first it starts with, ‘Man, does it look good.'
That just about explains everything, doesn't it? Will Allen teaches people that sustainable farming might be hard(er) work, but it brings joy and health.
Want To Watch The Movie?
Fresh is not playing in most theaters, but you can search for a screening in your area or purchase a license to host a screening in your home or in the community. DVDs come with each license purchased, and each time someone hosts a screening, the listing will be published on the FRESH website, bringing visibility to the hosting organization.
A volunteer FRESH movie activist tells me that this model — having local people host screenings — is working. She said, “Thus far, this model has been working tremendously well, no doubt due in part to the timely nature of the film, but additionally because FRESH is geared toward motivating positive action toward a healthier food system, rather that imparting fear on a public that has been overly manipulated with fear.”
Please visit the FRESH website to find more information about finding or hosting a screening in your area.
Have you seen the movie already? What did you think? What were your favorite parts or favorite quotes?
We only recommend products and services we wholeheartedly endorse. This post may contain special links through which we earn a small commission if you make a purchase (though your price is the same).