The most interesting thing at the “Go Organic!” movie night last week was in the hall, not on the screen.
Some 200-300 people (by my estimate) paid $5 to see movies about organic food production and sample the goods supplied by Local Burger last Thursday, August 23, 2007, at Liberty Hall, the old opera house now movie house/music hall in downtown Lawrence, Kansas.
Besides the encouraging number of people attending was the character of the audience. Though light on people of color, the crowd otherwise was diverse, from teens to silver hairs, from button downs to tatters and everything in between, with known atheists, Christians and Jews in attendance.
Now, I’ll grant you Lawrence is a liberal island amid mostly conservative Kansas. But a large share of the residents, nevertheless, is Kansas born and raised.
I think the crowd was a very positive sign because here in Kansas we’ve seen huge feedlots, huge, mostly irrigated farms, huge ranches and a lot of withering towns, even if most of us don’t live there any more.
Some people accept those things as just the way it is, but we Kansans also have seen, particularly in recent years, the bounty that’s possible right here through organic methods and more sustainable methods. And lots of people clearly like what they’ve seen and tasted in that regard.
At the screening, they stood in a long line to try the food (can’t comment on it; I didn’t wait) then quieted down for introductory comments (a few too many) and, at last, the films.
The local Films for Action group, in conjunction with Local Burger and the Sustainable Table’s Eat Well Across America Tour, presented four brief films or parts of films under the “Go Organic!” banner.
The first three films (The Meatrix I and II, Frankensteer (an excerpt) and Back to the Land), while interesting, didn’t have much new information for anyone who’s been paying attention to food in the last few years. The most interesting film was “The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil,” (see http://www.powerofcommunity.org/). It showed how Cuba, when deprived of oil, in short order reverted from industrial-style agriculture to dispersed, organically grown agriculture that has fostered healthy communities.
Some of the techniques-such as plowing with horses-aren’t likely to get far in the United States just yet, but just imagine what could happen if we decided to reform agriculture before we ran out of oil. Imagine: healthier food, healthier environment and a longer supply of the fossil fuels we rely on for transportation, heating and cooling.