Last night, Lawrence, Kan., became a stop on The Eat Well Guided Tour of America as Sustainable Table joined up with Local Burger and Films for Action to present Rural Route Film Festival's 'Go Organic!' In the mystically painted theater of Liberty Hall, a series of short films presented distressing truths and inspiring stories about the food we consume.
While 'Frankensteer' told of animal cruelty, antibiotic resistant germs and pollution that characterize Alberta, Canada's Feedlot Alley, the story of a grass-fed, family-run organic dairy farm motivated positive consumer power over land, animals and farmers. (Interestingly, when the family started feeding cows dandelion root and garlic rather than antibiotics, they saw a reduction in mastitis.)
A later film stressed that healthy soil leads to healthy plants, healthy animals and healthy humans. And one man provided a beautiful description of organic agriculture: the western adaptation of indigenous knowledge. Although industrialized farming attempts to beat nature with antibiotics, pesticides and hormones, nature cannot be beat. As more and more consumers catch on, I hope that working together with nature will become the most economical way of eating.
My favorite part of the evening was the video explaining Cuba's community solution and how it survived the peak oil crisis after the break up of the Soviet Union. What's astounding is that Cuba can, and should, be seen as a model for the United States. When the importation of oil and pesticides to Cuba ceased, going organic was necessary for survival. Small farms and urban gardens popped up everywhere and now farmers are some of the highest paid workers in Cuba. Another cool thing is that some of the country's farmland is ownerless. Farmers are free to use land as long as they do a good job. What ever happened to that 'this land is made for you and me' mentality in the U.S?
Last night compelled me to sustain the health of our land through responsible farming, and today I realized how appropriate Liberty Hall was for the 'Go Organic!' series. If you'd like to learn about or participate in the sustainable food movement, visit the excellent resources listed below. And please consider that every dollar you spend is a political act in fighting for nature's liberty.