“Americans fear only one thing: Inconvenience.”
And so begins “Fresh,” a food documentary shown last night at York College coordinated by the sustainability and environmental studies minor. The quote is from a farmer’s foreign friend, who had summarized our lifestyle so succinctly.
I want a burger, but it’s inconvenient to seek out a humanely-raised, grass-fed cow — not to mention whole grain buns, farm-fresh tomatoes, pesticide-free lettuce and ketchup made without high-fructose corn syrup. Not to mention cooking the thing! It is much more convenient to stop at the drive-thru and grab a Quarter Pounder.
But what “Fresh” argues is that it’s better for your health and the environment if you take the road less traveled. It’s a similar message to “The Future of Farming,” and it relies heavily on interviews with Michael Pollan, author of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” “In Defense of Food” and “Food Rules.”
The film outlines the effects of a “monoculture,” where a patch of land is used for one thing, whether it be soybeans or corn or raising cattle or poultry. It depletes the land and leaves the “one thing” extremely vulnerable to disease — hence the common (and plentiful) use of antibiotics and pesticides. Farmers in “Fresh” show that food production can be done differently.
What I most enjoyed, though, was the discussion afterward, where audience members (some farmers themselves) were invited to share what was happening in York County to move us toward a better food system. Some of the groups mentioned are linked below.
— Horn Farm Center, an education center that offers community garden plots near Hellam
— Food Availability Task Force, a group that works to increase consumption of fresh local produce (Contact is firstname.lastname@example.org, although I didn’t find a website)
— Healthy World Cafe, a community kitchen start-up that will offer a local, healthy meal to everyone regardless of ability to pay
— A movement to begin accepting food stamps at farm stands in Central Market
— Buy Fresh Buy Local York, a chapter of the national movement
— Perrydell Farm, a good source someone mentioned for local milk
— John J. Jeffries, a restaurant that serves all-local foods in Lancaster
I know this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you have others groups, websites or organizations that also focus on local foods, please leave them in the comments!