Fresh -the movie

Last night I watched the movie Fresh. It was screened at Botanica courtesy of the people at the Wichita Organic Garden Club.

It is difficult not to feel militant about our food production system after watching a movie like this. Yes, the movie is exploitative but it is quietly passionate in its portrayal of a problem that many of us are not even marginally aware of.  Myself, I was cued to this problem after reading Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilema, yet, mr. Pollan’s book did not get me going the way Fresh -the movie did.

The movie starts with a very likeable, charismatic farmer by the name of Joe Salatin. It’s hard not to agree with Joe. Later we are introduced to a couple who run a chicken farm. Along with their interview, we are shown HORRIFIC scenes of cute, cuddly baby chicks being mistreated in the name of profit at a chicken farm (I don’t know if that was their farm). The couple and their dog look, for lack of a better term, depressed. They are shot sitting on a couch. In contrast, Joe and the other heroes of organic farming are always shot in the farm, moving, creating, educating. They are shown laughing and caring. Please don’t get me wrong; I am on board here. I just want to point out that the movie is shot with bias so I don’t have to hear it from critics. I know the movie is biased. It has to be. It has to grab us by our collective lapels and shake us. We need to pay attention.

The movie deals with how food is produced, at least in North America, but I suspect this movie will be relevant world-wide. The farmers in India would most definitely agree with this movie. They too have run into the problems outlined in Fresh after using Big-Chem and Big-Ag methods over there. When I left, however, I was thinking about something else: Humanity. How can I buy meat from people who torture animals like that? Tying cows with chains to a mechanical device and dragging them by their necks in a tiny space for God-knows what purpose?! I can’t. Not anymore. I went home and told my wife we were done supporting that kind of indecent behavior. Like I said, it’s hard not to get militant.

I want to offer a bit of caution here as well. There are billions of people on this planet. Thanks to Fritz Haber, the German chemist who invented the process for fixing Nitrogen from the air and to Big-Ag and their Green Revolution, we were able to get to this point. Without Fritz Haber’s discovery (up to that point, only plants could fix Nitrogen from the air), there would be no way for Big-Ag to do what they do and the planet’s population would be a tad smaller. Now, we cannot just stop suddenly. We have to find a way to continue to feed people while we change gears. We can not just let a few billion people starve while we all go organic. We can do it. We are inventive creatures endowed with powerful brains. I recommend that after seeing this movie, or before you see it. that you read James E. McWilliams’ book Just Food.  Fresh -the movie is fundamentally a movie about hope. It delivers its content straight into your neural system and you get immediately high. Mr. McWilliams’ book will deliver a sobering discussion to temper that high. Yes, let’s go organic, sustainable, and local but let’s do it the right way.

We all need to watch this movie. We need to get angry. We need to inconvenience ourselves a little and find places where we can buy organic products. If you live in the Wichita area, visit the Love Local Food blog and drop them a note. They are compiling a list of local resources for people who want to buy local, organic products.

Over and out.


10 Responses to “Fresh -the movie”

  1. Stephanie Says:

    Local organics are the best 😉 It will be interesting to see how the current food production system be reverted.

  2. yaquigrande Says:

    I agree!

  3. Gardener on Sherlock Street Says:

    Everyone should know where food comes from.

  4. Rebecca Says:

    I LOVED the movie Food, INC. Have you seen it?

    • yaquigrande Says:

      Beyond knowing that milk comes from cows and eggs come from hens, I did not want to know more. Once I started growing vegetables however, I started to look into the source of my food more in-depth. I cannot feed my boys another McDonald’s cheeseburger without thinking about all those cows in feed lots being given TONS of antibiotics and hormones. Changing from our established eating habits will be a challenge!

      I haven’t had a chance to watch it. Do you know where it is available (video, on-demand, netflix)?

      • Love Local Food Says:

        Great review, and excellent that you pointed out this movie is biased, which it is. However, I agree, it gets a great point out there and immediately gets people fired up to make changes.

        “Food, Inc.” is also excellent, and jam packed with information. It is available at the local library (last I heard there was a wait list of 30 people). You can get it at Blockbuster as well.

      • Rebecca Says:

        I rented ours through Block Busters online. Even my 10 and 12 year old boys watched it and “think” more about things! I recommend it!

  5. yaquigrande Says:

    Thank you Paula, I will rent Food, Inc from BB and watch it this weekend.

  6. Lisa Madison Says:

    Thank you for the review of FRESH! I wanted to address why this film is not available at Blockbuster – we (the very tiny FRESH team), feel strongly that a revolution of this sort needs to be fueled by a grassroots passion that is best cultivated as people get together in a community and talk about how they can follow a more sustainable system. We want the film to be used as a platform, as a discussion starter, as a tool to get this kind of passion and movement started.

    Anyone, EVERYONE can bring this to their own community – whether that be your family, your library, your school, your CSA. We have a number of different licensing options – we’re doing this outside of the ‘box’ – grassroots at it’s best!


    Lisa Madison
    Distribution & Outreach Coordinator

  7. deanna borboa Says:

    My husband has been trying to grow here in jacksonville florida. We’ve been succesful with some tomatoes and some watermellons, but not much more. We think is the sandy ground. One year we had lots of papaya, tomatoes and cantaloupes, but that winter everything froze and died. We haven’t had as much since. Reading your blog has inspire us to try again and try different methods. Good movie recommendations.

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