Still hungry for more eco-foodie films after watching "Food, Inc.?" Sit down to see "Fresh," an eco-documentary that celebrates the people who are re-inventing our food system to offer more local, just, healthy and fresh fare.
"Fresh" and "Food, Inc." both have the same goal — to make eaters (you!) aware that what you put in your mouth has wide implications — for your health, for the economy, and for the environment. But the two films have widely different feels, with "Fresh" being simultaneously grizzlier and more uplifting than "Food, Inc."
How so? Well, "Fresh" gets to the dirty, scary places that "Food, Inc." never gets into — like the really disgusting factory chicken farms where once-sick and now-dead chickens get whipped up to land at your feet when chickens are hurriedly corralled towards slaughter. But to balance the depressing stuff, "Fresh" focuses primarily on positive, personal stories, following farmers and entrepreneurs across the country working to make local, fresh, healthy food an easier, tastier choice.
Yes, there are the usual eco-foodie talking heads — you guessed right if you thought of Michael Pollan — who offer their explanations about the problems with big ag subsidies and factory farming. Pollan explains in simple language that cutting the symbiotic relationship between livestock and plants — putting the former into factory farms that breed diseases and create methane pollution while forcing the latter to grow unnaturally in monoculture farms using synthetic fertilizers and pesticides — has created two gigantic problems.
But from there, we really get into the unique, individual stories of people creating a difference. We see Russ Kremer, a once industrial hog farmer who goes all natural, after getting a life-threatening antibiotic-resistant infection while working with his often-sick, antibiotic-fed factory farm hogs. We see Joel Salatin, a Virginia farmer who calls his free-range chickens "ladies" as he brings them outside to feed for the day, explain that before factory farming, cows were never fed meats as they are now, simply because herbivores are not made to eat meat. We see Will Allen of Growing Power in Milwaukee, turning urbanites into city farmers and encouraging kids to play with worms.
Watch "Fresh" at a community screening near you. Many are happening across the world; I saw "Fresh" at a community screening organized by an L.A. company called Gather Green. Or buy a DVD and arrange a public or private screening of your own. Here's the trailer: