“Farmland” on the Big Screen

A couple weeks ago, my good friend Katie treated Adam and I to the opening night showing of Farmland. Katie grew up on a farm and, quite honestly, she was one of my first tastes to the amazing community that farmers hold each other in.

The movie was at a chic theater in Indianapolis (… A theater where you could order a glass of wine for the movie. If more theaters did this I might consider going to the movies more often than the time that has passed between now… and when the last Harry Potter movie came out.)

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And as the credits started rolling, Adam turned to me with the biggest smile on his face.

He was still beaming as we walked out of the theater and asking, “So, what did you think?” over and over.

Honestly, I thought it was very good, but that seemed so generic to say at that moment.

I needed more time to process it all.

There was so much information. Emotion. Stories. Passion.

Lots and lots of thoughts were running through my head.

For me, it wasn’t like watching your childhood heroes like it was for Adam.

From my stand point, it was like watching a captivating, information packed segment on Dateline or the Today show. Except it was eighty minutes long.

I reversed and asked him what he thought.

“I think everyone needs to see it” he responded without hesitation.

I couldn’t help but agree. The thought had crossed my mind.

In this day and age where everyone is so quick to judge farmers based on what they see in paranoid food blogs and Food, Inc., Farmland is a strong rebuttal. (I am not sure if it was designed that way, but I also couldn’t help but find it ironic that Farmland’s final shots were set to an upbeat version of “This Land is Your Land.” Food, Inc. ended with a somber “This Land is Your Land.”)

I’ll admit. Food, Inc. got to even me. As I started this blog, I knew I had to watch it.

So, I picked it up at the library last spring and after viewing it I decided that if I am in control of the meat I eat, I wanted to know where it came from.

At home this wasn’t hard. I bought meat at the farmers market or from people we know. But, out and about? That was hard.

So, my post Food, Inc. resolution lasted about three weeks.

Farmland addresses those horrible images that Food, Inc. shares that got me to reconsider my burgers and steaks.

The images of a cow being rolled over by a fork lift. Or the guy kicking a pig with all his might.

All the farmers featured in the video agreed that those images make them mad. Sick. Angry.

One mentioned on how their animals are their livelihood. They can’t make a profit with a poor product. In turn, they love the animals they tend to.

Another said, “All kinds of industry have their bad apples and they ruin it for everyone”

It’s true.

Bad press and bad stereotypes are found in any and every industry.

Teachers? Lazy. Over paid baby sitters. And, how about the ones sleeping with their students?

Nurses? Drugging their elderly or mentally disabled patients so that they don’t have to deal with them.

Sales people? They are greasy, aggressive and will do anything just to make a buck.

Doctors? Often running drug rings out of their practice and buddying up to the pharma reps just for the all-inclusive vacation.

Politicians? Do I really even need to go there?

The thing is, food is personal.

Food is the one thing that everyone uses everyday. (Multiple times a day!)

And thanks to the propaganda images and news articles from a few “bad apples” in the agriculture industry, people are quick to judge farmers.

Now more than ever, people feel like they need a connection to their food. They feel that they deserve to know how the food was produced. They want to see the face behind their meal.

So… go get it.

Make connections with local growers. Ask questions of the people who actually do the work.

Take all internet boards and propaganda with a grain of salt, and take it upon yourself to get the whole story before forming opinions or assuming everything you hear is a fact.

In fact, watch Farmland.

I have asked so many questions and read so many books and articles over the last two to three years about our food system, to the point that I think I could hold pretty good ground in intelligent conversations about farming, local food, organics, scare tactics, etc. But, I still learned so much from Farmland.

For example: No added hormone’s in chicken.

Sounds good, right? Most consumers would rather buy the chicken labeled no hormones added versus the one that didn’t have this label.

Guess what?

Some marketer thought it sounded good too.

No farmer is adding hormones to chickens. One company just made it big and bold on their label so everyone thought that this chicken was better for them than the other.

I am pretty sure I have even boasted in this blog about how our backyard chickens don’t have any added hormones. Which, yes, is true. But, in that regard, it puts them on the same level as any other chicken out there.

The information provided in Farmland is eye opening and presented at a level that is simple to understand. And, that may be because the six farmers are showcased in the documentary are in their 20’s and 30’s. It felt like I was watching and learning from people who could easily be Adam and my friends.

Each of these farmers come from very different kinds of farming, such as big organics in California, ranching in Texas, commodity crops in the Midwest, and organic CSA’s in New England. But, they did a great job speaking about the realities that the entire industry shares like the weather, the current age demographic in agriculture, the stereotypes they face each day, the up and coming technology propelling the industry to be able to serve the demand, and their unfaltering passion to continue to grow our nation’s food.

If you grew up around farming and love agriculture, go see Farmland.

If you have never met a farmer and want to know more about agriculture, go see Farmland.

If you swear by organic food, go see Farmland.

If you don’t think GMO’s are a big deal, go see Farmland.

If you saw Food, Inc., go see Farmland.

If you buy food, go see Farmland.

Everyone should see it.

Use it as a tool to help you form your own opinions, but keep learning.

The film is in select theaters across the nation and will be available for digital download late this summer.

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