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Good Food

May 14, 2009

Nadine and I went to go see Good Food last night, a documentary about sustainable food and farming in the Pacific Northwest.

Very interesting, well done, and entertaining. We are all aware, and frequently reminded of issues like the local food movement, eating organic, peak oil, the dangers of factory farming and mass production… Especially if you are here in Portland. And most of us have already been converted to the practices that will help us address these issues, but this movie puts close to home faces to these increasingly alarming topics, and allows them to tell the stories behind the life of a small family farm, all in a very unpretentious and matter of fact manner. As Nadine and I start off on our farming adventure, the film served as a reminder of what it means to have made the choice we did.

The farmers featured in the film were all, without fail, what you might call “characters”. Each personality came with a tinge of goofiness, but in that great way that highlights the fact that they REALLY love what they are doing. And I take pleasure in thinking that this might be the way Nadine and I are headed (“those crazy ladies down there at the farm”). But the underlying theme of the movie was the ongoing struggle that each one of these farmers has had to deal with to survive in the small farm industry, especially while transitioning to or starting off organic. Yet at the end of the day, they wouldn’t change a thing…

Here are a few interesting points I gleamed from the film and the post-film discussion, led my Ann Forsthoefel, the director of the Portland Farmers Market:

* Last Saturday, 16,000 people visited the PSU Farmer’s Market… 16,000!

* For every dollar spent on local, organic veggies (ie something you bought at the farmer’s market), 93 cents of that dollar stays within the local economy; for every dollar spent on conventional veggies, only 25 cents stays within the local economy… think about it.

* Oregon is way behind on providing resources and support for small family farmers. The infrastructure just isn’t there, and considering how important agriculture is to our local economy, that’s a rather pathetic state of affairs.

* Greenhouses are the way to go! One farmer featured in the film was about to grow the same amount of tomatoes and peppers in 2 greenhouses as he was over 4 acres outside. And if you plan it right, you can grow all year long! Time to build some greenhouses at the Dirtbox…

* The guy who does the purchasing at New Seasons, or the woman who does the purchasing up at PCC Natural Markets in Seattle, can actually name the families and the stories behind each product – like, “oh yeah, every time I look at this meat product, I think of Mary up at so and so farm tending to her sheep flock out there in Eastern Washington”. I think that adds a whole hell of a lot of meaning to the process of buying, and eating, your groceries.

Ok, I could go on, but you get the point. See the movie if you get a chance. Tonight is the last screening here in Portland over at Cinema 21, and then it heads to Seattle, Denver and Washington.



2 Comments leave one →
  1. nadine permalink
    May 14, 2009 10:18 pm

    good food, good flick. very inspiring. but what do you mean “crazy ladies?”. does that have anything to do with my 7 cats? i told you that’s just temporary…

    • Vanessa permalink
      June 3, 2009 5:15 am

      Seriously great farmer’s market stats! I might have to twitter for you, since you’re still out of that circle for some crazy reason (maybe you’re a crazy lady after all…). Actually, the Portland Farmer’s Market has a great twitter presence, fyi.
      Lots of Portland people = love for a CSA blog. BUT, I’ll wait and see if I have your permission before helping make you famous… Brit and I can team up when you’re ready! 😉

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