Books bring us one kind of information, films bring us another. Reading takes time; books have a weighty and historical feel. Films immerse us in story, capturing faces and voices and movement, making an immediate connection. Many people have started down the local food path after watching Food, Inc. It’s an important film, the kind that makes you want to get out and do something about the industrial system.
Good Food is about the people who are doing something. The film documents the emerging regional food system in the Pacific Northwest. Sustainable Cinema at the Historic Orchard Theater screened the film last Sunday night, sponsored by Kitsap County Commissioner Charlotte Garrido. Fifteen of us showed up to watch the 73 minute film. The filmmakers ranged from the Oregon high desert to northern Washington, interviewing ranchers, dairy farmers, vegetable growers, orchardists, produce buyers in stores, and a distributor.
Alex and I spent the first three years of our marriage living in an apple orchard in Oroville, Washington, working alongside migrant farm workers from Mexico. The film updated me on what’s happening in orchard country. Ten years ago the globalization of the apple market crushed many small orchardists. Some sold their orchards to the Hispanic workers who have been there for decades, now naturalized citizens. Others put in greenhouses to grow vegetable crops along with the fruit.
Some of these sell to Charlie’s Produce, which now distributes organic produce as a sizeable portion of their business, a big change from even a few years ago. Farmer’s markets, CSAs, farmer’s co-ops like Organic Valley, chef’s associations, individual restaurants, and produce buyers in food co-ops and local grocery stores have all helped keep local family farms going, connecting farmers directly with the people they feed.
I was surprised to hear that only one percent of the food eaten in Puget Sound is grown here. The more families buy even a few items locally, the more local farms we keep in business, which is critical to local food security. This is a place where shopping choices really do make a difference!
The film costs about $100 to buy or arrange to show. If you get a chance, check it out, it’s an educational and hopeful look at our present and our future.