Thursday, May 8, 2014

Farmland


I normally don’t have movie reviews on my blog, but for one movie, I’m going to make an exception. Last night, I was invited to the Arkansas screening of the movie, Farmland.



Chances are, if you read this blog, you have an interest in how your food is produced, and if you’re interested in learning about how food is produced in this country, you need to see Farmland. A group called the Farmers and Rancher Alliance financed the film, and it was directed by Academy Award-winning director, James Moll.

Six young farmers were featured, from across the country, representing many aspects of modern American agriculture.

·         I have to say my favorite was Brad Bellah, a cattle rancher from Texas. His ranch is not too far from where I grew up, and the scenes from it made me gasp with reminders of home. I practically cheered when they pictured his family all decked out in the red and black of my alma mater, Texas Tech. He and I probably had many of the same professors. During the movie, his twins were born in the same hospital where I was born. Most importantly, he raises cattle for beef production. Our family also raises beef cattle.

·         The film traveled to Georgia to the poultry farm of Leighton Cooley. We watched him fill a barn with baby chicks and teach kids about chickens.

·         I was so impressed with the work ethic and drive of Margaret Schlass on her Certified Naturally Grown vegetable farm in Pennsylvania. She was the first-generation farmer in the group and she talked about how hard it was to start a farm from nothing.

·         Ryan Veldhuizen and his family raise pigs, corn and soybeans in Minnesota. He and his brother comically argue about tractors and land.

·         Large scale organic farming was represented by Sutton Morgan from California. He learned about farming produce from his dad, but turned his operation to all organic.

·         David Loberg took over his corn and soybean farm from his dad, and it’s tough to watch one of the sadder points of the movie when he talks about losing his dad to cancer.

This film doesn’t shy away from the hard subjects. They cover GMOs, Organic farming, pesticides and chemicals, hormones, antibiotics, and animal cruelty videos. It was interesting to hear all the different takes on those tough subjects.

The main take away from the film was that our food is produced by people. People who work hard and want the best for their families.

It’s hard to devote the time and energy to traveling to a farm for a tour. Lots of farmers would love to have you. This film is a great chance to spend about 70 minutes on farms with young farmers and learn how our food is produced.

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