Tomorrow at 7 p.m., the Ambler Theater will screen Fresh as part of their Pennypack Sustainability Series. For information and tickets, visit amblertheater.org or call 215-345-7855.
Check out my review from March's Grid after the jump. Oh, and in case you need any encouragement to attend, Will Allen is in this movie. WILL ALLEN.
Fresh, a film by ana Sofia joanes, doesn’t break much new ground when it comes to revealing the contrast between commercial agriculture and sustainable farming. We have food journalist Michael Pollan and celebrated farmer Joel Salatin, who Pollan made famous in his landmark The Omnivore’s Dilemma, alongside a host of other farmers and advocates from both sides of the debate. But what sets Fresh apart are the intensely effective images, and a refreshing hopefulness. It will be hard to forget watching as crates of baby chickens are dumped (literally) onto a feedlot floor—the sound they make as they hit the dirt is even more indelible. But, it’s just as impossible not to smile at the sight of day-old piglets on Russ Kremer’s sustainable pig farm in Missouri, tumbling towards their mother’s milk.
The film maintains a strong balance between the grim realities of monocultures and feedlots and the rising tide of creative and sustainable local producers. There is attention paid to co-ops and urban agriculture (personified by the hulking figure of Willie Green, Milwaukee’s worm-loving messiah of microgreens), and some encouraging numbers on the profitability and efficiency of farms that eschew pesticides and antibiotics. The film also captures the extraordinary beauty of life on a diversified, working farm—cows chewing on grass, pigs wallowing in mud (and earning a scratch behind the ear from their devoted caretaker) and even mounds of compost crawling with earthworms are rendered nothing short of moving. —Lee Stabert