Rebuilding Communities Around Agriculture

How We Grow Communities: Rebuilding Ourselves Around Agriculture

Directed by Haley Thompson and Tomas Zaccarellow (2018)

Film Review

“Make Tomorrow You Take an Active Role in Your Food System”

This documentary concerns the growing movement to bring more young people into organic agriculture and permaculture. There is already growing inclination on the part of American young people to enter farming. I’m sure this relates in large part to high youth unemployment from the 2008 global financial crash. The average age of farmers in industrial agriculture is 58.

Focusing mainly on a small farming/tourist community in the Colorado Rockies, the film highlights a number of promising initiatives (being copied in other states) to expand the local food movement. These include programs to teach children about healthy soil and eating through school-based organic gardens; an Earth Keepers Day Camp; grassroots climate justice initiatives to facilitate rapid transition to renewable energy; lease options for young people who can’t afford their own land; partnerships between farmers and local chefs; and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) schemes in which local residents support farmers by subscribing to a share of their crops. By covering their operating and living expenses up front, the latter saves young farmers from incurring crippling levels of debt.

The most innovative program presented  is the national Slow Money Club. The latter enables baby boomers with savings to provide interest-free loans to newbie organic farmers. In 2018, the program issued $50 million in loans to 516 small farm enterprises.

The full film can be viewed free with your public library card on Kanopy. Type “Kanopy” and the name of you library into your search engine.

 

The Global Climate Justice Movement

Two nights ago, the New Plymouth Green Party and Climate Justice Taranaki sponsored the showing of Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything. We used the Tugg theatrical-on-demand platform, which allows individuals and groups to show one night film screenings at their local theater. Our cinema was packed (with 90 people) in contrast to the 12-15 watching Hollywood films in the other auditoriums.

The documentary, based on Naomi Klein’s best selling book of the same name, is about the global climate justice movement. Both the book and film take their title from Klein’s premise that the problem of climate change can’t be solved under our current capitalist economic system.

The documentary mainly showcases the mass global protests against the environmental destruction caused by the fossil fuel industry. Klein, who narrates the film, notes a major shift in the environmental movement, with growing numbers of poor and indigenous peoples fighting a fossil fuel industry whose slash and burn mentality threatens their ability to provide food, water and other basic necessities for their families.

The main premise of the film (and the book) is the carbon pollution, like other large scale environmental damage is the result of a dysfunctional story we’ve been telling ourselves over the last 400 years – namely that nature is a kind of machine that must be mastered and dominated at all costs. According to Klein and the numerous activists she interviews, this needs to be replaced by the much older story about humanity living in harmony with nature.

One highlight of the film is her visit to an ultra right free market think tank called the Hartland Foundation. Funded by billionaire fossil fuel barons like the Koch brothers, Hartland is the primary sponsor of the US climate denial movement.

This Changes Everything can be rented from Vudu for $3.99

Groups interested in bringing This Changes Everything and other anti-capitalist documentaries to their local theater can contact Tugg at their website.