Movie Review: Fresh Offers New Thinking About What We're Eating

Fresh the movie image

Images via Fresh The Movie

Disaster, devastation, destruction: Those are the none too cheerful themes of many environmental movies, e.g. The Age of Stupid, 11th Hour, The Day after Tomorrow. While the fear factor has its purpose, we don't think it motivates people nearly as much as the power of possibility. In short there's been a conspicuous lack of optimism on our screens and acknowledgment of all the amazing work that's going on to create positive change. But now, I'm delighted to say that Fresh The Movie has come along to fill that void in our lives. Here's a film that revels in the joy of growing good food sustainably.The good, the bad, and the ugly
This excellent documentary about the state of our food industry shows the good, the bad, and the ugly, but most importantly leaves you with a hopefulness that we can make things better. Fresh The Movie takes its inspiration from Michael Pollen's book The Omnivore's Dilemma, looking at the world's dependency on corn and cattle and the deeply unhealthy environments that monocultures and animal feed lots create.

Fresh free range hens photo

The Omnivore's Dilemma
As Michael Pollen explains, in his book and in this film, by dividing animal and crop farming into two separate industries we have turned one sustainable solution into two unsustainable problems. Ana Sofia Joanes, the director and producer of Fresh, goes in search of people working on both sides of the fence to hear their perspectives on why they choose to farm the way they do.

Growing Power
The film stars some fantastically inspirational people and focuses on the success of family farms in the face of overwhelming odds pitched at them on the industrial scale. We particularly loved hearing passionate voices such as Joel Salatin, who also features in The Omnivore's Dilemma, and Will Allen of Growing Power, talking about what motivates them to grow food sustainably.

Astonishing statistics
There are astonishing statistics in the film that blow your mind, such as the fact that 70% of US farming land used for row crops (corn, wheat, barley etc.) goes to feeding cattle. Only 30% goes to pigs, poultry and people! Just think what could we do with that 70%, Joel Salatin exclaims, if we didn't feed it all to cattle. The activist attorney Andrew Kimbrell also feeds us key information such as organic agriculture is 4 times more productive than industrial farming.

Fresh perspectives
As a whole, the film shows a clear bias towards organic agriculture and decentralized family farms and presents a clear case for their importance in creating a sustainable food industry. However there is a lot more to the film than just farming as Ana Sofia Joanes explained in her article for The Huffington Post:

Although, at first glance, it may seem that Fresh is about food and agriculture, it's really more about adopting a new perspective, a different understanding of our relationship to each other and the world. In short, Fresh seeks to empower us by showing how we are the creators of our reality, not passive by-standers to a world going nuts. And while being creators means taking responsibility for what's happening, it also means we can change it (yes we can!).

Fresh corn still photojpg

Organise a screening
Talking of taking responsibility, the Fresh team are aiming for their movie to reach 1 million people. So, like The Age of Stupid, the idea is to get as many people as possible to organise local community screenings. So if you and your friends would like to be inspired and delighted by the sustainable future of food go to Fresh The Movie to find out how you can organise a screening and register your event.

Fresh The Movie
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