The Vital Importance of Local Food Production

Feeding Ourselves

Directed by Lisa Safarik (2020)

Film Review

The breakdown of the US food supply chain under COVID19 once again highlights the danger of our globalized food system. Feeding Ourselves reminds us of the importance of local farmers and a strong local food network during periods of national and international crisis.

Cinematographically this has to be one of the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen. For the most part, filmmakers focus on small farmers in British Columbia harvesting their crops, preparing them for market, and undertaking a multitude of tasks to naturally replenish their soils. Small free range meat producers also feature prominently, demonstrating humane and sustainable pastoral management, home kill, and butchery techniques. A few vignettes depict small local food processors, restauranteurs, and farmers markets that bring freshly grown organic products to local residents.

Several of the farmers interviewed predict the imminent collapse of industrial agriculture (so far the COVID19 lockdown and collapse of North American food chains tend to validate these predictions). They feel it’s essential to prepare by creating a strong local food infrastructure.

With youth unemployment levels remaining really high despite the so-called post-2008 recovery, no one is very surprised that so many young people are choosing a career (organic farming) consistent with their values rather than financial gain.

The film also points out the role of factory farming in externalizing the cost of pest control. Industrial farming employs toxic chemicals that generate immense health and environmental costs, owing to their link to cancer, chronic illness, and species extinction. In contrast organic farmers must pay the full cost of human labor required to eliminate pests.

The full film can be viewed free at https://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/feeding-ourselves/