Fridays at the Farm

Film Synopsis: Feeling disconnected from their food, a filmmaker and his family decide to join a local community supported organic farm. As he photographs the growing process, the filmmaker moves from passive observer to active participant in the planting and harvesting of vegetables. Compiled entirely from nearly 20,000 still images, this personal essay is a father’s meditation on his blossoming family and community.

Fridays at the Farm has aired nationally on The Sundance Channel, won awards in the US, Korea, and Japan, and been selected for ten international traveling film festivals as well as both the Ironweed and Earth Cinema Circle DVD Collections.

The Future of Food

About: The Future of Food has been a key tool in the American and international anti-GMO grassroots activist movements and played widely in the environmental and activist circuits since its release in 2004. The film is widely acknowledged for its role in educating voters and the subsequent success of passing Measure H in Mendocino County, California, one of the first local initiatives in the country to ban the planting of GMO crops. Indicative of its popularity, the Future of Food showed to a sold out audience of 1,500 at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco in 2004, a benefit for Slow Food, where it was introduced by Alice Waters.

In September 2005, The Future of Food made a highly acclaimed national theatrical premiere at Film Forum in New York, followed by a tour of more than a dozen major American cities in the fall. Applauded by technology writers, food policy experts and environmental activists, the film has been shown around the world—from a plaza in Oaxaca, Mexico to the Jerusalem Cinematheque, and in citizen screenings all over the world—from India, Kenya, and Bulgaria to Brazil and Indonesia. It screened at a wide variety of professional gatherings, including the Midwestern Organic Farmers Convention, the Organic Trade Association 2005 trade show and conference in Chicago, and the American Dietetic Association convention. Columbia and New York Universities showed it to their students.

Throughout 2006, the film continued to be shown globally – to the public and at conferences, such as The Soil Association Convention in London and the Japanese Organic Farmer’s Convention. Garcia was the keynote speaker at the Nutrition and Health - State of the Science Conference put on by Dr. Andrew Weil and Columbia Medical School in New York City. The film had sold out premiers in Paris, Amsterdam and London and was screened in Turin, Italy for Slow Food’s “Terra Madre 2006,” a gathering of 5,000 farmers and food producers from around the world; and at the Conference on Women and Food Solidarity in Dehra Dun, India.

Since 2004 The Future of Food has been featured at numerous film festivals including The Margaret Mead Film Festival, The American Film Institute/ Discovery Channel SILVERDOCS Festival, The Slow Food Film Festival, and the New Zealand Film Festival. The film has won awards for “Best Doc” at deadCENTER Film Festival; audience awards at both the Ann Arbor Film Festival and the Ashland Independent Film Festival; and the “Human Rights Award” at the Taos Film Festival. It was chosen by the Oscar screening committee of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences as one of the best documentaries of 2004. To date, The Future of Food has been translated into Spanish, French, Portuguese, Dutch, Italian and Japanese. An Educational Edition of The Future of Food with a year-long, university level curriculum by Professor Joshua Muldavin was released in Fall 2007.

In 2009, The Future of Food continues to be shown throughout the world at film festivals, in classrooms, and as part of environmental, farming and cultural events. The film continues to enjoy the support of a wide range of organizations—from the Organic Consumers Association, to the Soil Association of Britain, to Slow Food.

Genetic engineering of food crops is as controversial today as ever, as many of the large agro corporations that use this technology position themselves as the answer to the world food crisis and further consolidate the seed supply. The Future of Food continues to be a key tool used by activists and educators who call for increased attention to this issue.

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Okanagan Dreams

Film Synopsis: This short documentary follows the migration of thousands of young Quebecers as they travel to British Columbia to harvest fruit in the lush Okanagan Valley. The camera follows several spirited youth into the orchards for seven weeks. As the rain sets in, reality unfolds: it's cold, the cherry crop is late, and money is short. But as they make friends and enjoy their independence, the promise of adventure is realized. Although their work is integral to the local economy, the youth find that the experience is not just about making money. It's about awareness, self-discovery and exploring the world.

Point of View: Who in their 20s hasn’t dreamt of going away for the summer to work somewhere exotic? In this sunny film we follow several young Quebeckers as they go pick fruit in British Columbia. It is Shangri-la for them, as most have never set foot outside of Quebec. The chance to live an adventure away from their parents for the first time brings the young people to the various farms to pick fruit, make friends and create lasting memories. One of the characters best sums it up when he says that working in the Okanagan Valley with the mountains surrounding him is so much better than being stuck in an office in Montreal. I guarantee that this film will put a smile on your face.

— Albert Ohayon

Earth to Mouth

Film Synopsis: Filmed at the Wing Fong Farm in Ontario, this documentary follows the tilling, planting and harvesting of Asian vegetables destined for Chinese markets and restaurants. On 80 acres of land, Lau King-Fai, her son and a half-dozen migrant Mexican workers care for the plants. For Yeung Kwan, her son, the farm represents personal and financial independence. For his mother, it is an oasis of peace. For the Mexican workers, it provides jobs that help support their children back home.

From the playlist : Canada’s Diverse Cultures
Lau King-Fai left China in 1994 at the age of 65 to join her son in Newcastle, Ontario and help run his farm. The Wing Fong farm produces succulent Asian vegetables for Chinese markets and restaurants across the country. thanks in part to the similarity of the soil in Canada and China. Mexican workers, who simply cannot support their families back home, are employed to help cultivate the land. This beautiful film shows two vastly different cultures working together to make the farm a success.

This film by director Yung Chang (Up the Yangtze) takes a gentle look at the Wing Fong (which means “forever bountiful”) Family farm in Newcastle, Ontario. What makes this film so special is the respectful way in which it presents all its subjects, from the owner to his mother to the migrant Mexican workers who come to help harvest the crop of Asian vegetables. Even though these people are from such vastly different backgrounds, everyone works together for a common purpose.

— Albert Ohayon

The World According to Monsanto

About: There's nothing they are leaving untouched: the mustard, the okra, the bringe oil, the rice, the cauliflower. Once they have established the norm: that seed can be owned as their property, royalties can be collected. We will depend on them for every seed we grow of every crop we grow. If they control seed, they control food, they know it -- it's strategic. It's more powerful than bombs. It's more powerful than guns. This is the best way to control the populations of the world. The story starts in the White House, where Monsanto often got its way by exerting disproportionate influence over policymakers via the "revolving door". One example is Michael Taylor, who worked for Monsanto as an attorney before being appointed as deputy commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1991. While at the FDA, the authority that deals with all US food approvals, Taylor made crucial decisions that led to the approval of GE foods and crops. Then he returned to Monsanto, becoming the company's vice president for public policy.

Thanks to these intimate links between Monsanto and government agencies, the US adopted GE foods and crops without proper testing, without consumer labeling and in spite of serious questions hanging over their safety. Not coincidentally, Monsanto supplies 90 percent of the GE seeds used by the US market. Monsanto's long arm stretched so far that, in the early nineties, the US Food and Drugs Agency even ignored warnings of their own scientists, who were cautioning that GE crops could cause negative health effects. Other tactics the company uses to stifle concerns about their products include misleading advertising, bribery and concealing scientific evidence.



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