Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Community Connections & Other Recent Happenings

One of the fun things about distributing a community-friendly movie like PolyCultures is periodically scouring the internet to see what kinds of creative ways people are using and benefiting from it. Here are some highlights from what I turned up today:

This evening there'll be a home screening of the movie in conjunction with the Chicago Permaculture Meetup Group. I'm emailing the coordinator of the event in part to ask him if the viewers would be interested in posting some reactions on this very blog post... so check back later this week.

Here's a great guest post on a fine blog Mary Holmes is doing in support of the foods grown and produced in Northeast Ohio called Bounty of the Western Reserve. In the post, Melissa Miller of Miller Livestock shares her experience of our recent amphitheater screening in Warren, OH.

She starts by saying, "It all came together pretty easily. Maybe because it was all so local. Maybe because a group of interested people were committed to making it work. Maybe this will be the beginning of a larger local food movement for our own area."

She continues, "On this evening our goal was to showcase farmers who are working hard to produce food that is raised locally and naturally and bring their products to the attention of a wider audience. Here’s what we served, free of charge before the film screening...."

And in conclusion, "So we made some connections. With other farmers, with chefs, between people we know as our customers and some we hope will become our customers in the future. Connections between people we’ve known for years or those we have recently met who were a part of the Polycultures documentary. Between the people who were present at the Amphitheatre, who are completely new to the local food movement and those who’ve been working in it as their vocation, passion, or profession.... Strengthening connections. Building community. A satisfying, successful evening."

Thanks so much to Melissa for sharing her experience. We're seeing something like this around all of our events, and it's great to have people telling the tales! I really encourage you to read the rest of this well-written, savory story.

PolyCultures was recently featured on the well-known Serious Eats site in the article "Serious Green: Movies That Go Beyond Food Inc." Food Inc. is a great documentary that focuses on the problems of the conventional food production system, and our movie really picks up where it left off - we show the solution in action in a community-integrated fashion. Fittingly, we were included in their "If You Want to See Communities Pulling Together" series. Nice exposure to find out-of-the-blue - thanks Serious Eats!

In other news, Tom's about to kick-off his cross-country tour, so check out the post right below for details on that. On Monday I gave an hour-long talk (with help from some other participants in the local food scene) to about 45 Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) freshmen about the conventional food system and the alternative we present in PolyCultures. It was confirmed last week that John Ruhl, leader of the Institute for Sustainability at CWRU, will be using the movie as a teaching aid in a sustainability course this fall. Our recent screening at Great Lakes Brewing Company went well - intermissions for discussion after plots 2 and 4 worked great, and the herb bundles provided by Christine of Pint Size Farm were fantastic.

As always, if you're interested in setting up a community screening, helping us get PolyCultures in a library near you, or using the movie in some other creative way, please let us know!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Slapping Together the Cross-Country Tour

Two weeks ago it seemed like my little "cross-country tour" might be more of a ridiculous vacation. But wholly crap!

Over the course of the last week, we have been able to schedule screenings in Milwaukee are putting one together in Denver (both will be before the end of the month) and we're working on pulling something together in Michigan and Nebraska (where I may stop between Milwaukee and Colorado and where we have very interested but busy partners) in the very near future.

I know I'm the type to get easily excited about these things, but it seems to me that telling people about the action we have seen occur after an audience has seen the movie is really motivating people to join forces with us, and quickly.

We are working to compile a better list of the actual stuff people have done after being inspired by the movie and here's a quick list off the top of my head-

People who were inspired by PolyCultures have:
1. Driven from Columbus to the Cleveland to build a straw bale greenhouse.
2. Visited Great Lakes Brewing Company's Pint Size farm, in hopes to fund a grant
3. Worked with the City of Cleveland to acquire land on which to farm and build a business
4. Organized a group of friends, family or colleagues to watch the movie
5. Joined a CSA
6. Pushed to get healthier food where they work
7. Started a garden in their own yards

OK, that was without stopping. Please, let me know if you've been inspired to do something as a result of seeing the movie - or if you know someone who is susceptible to theatrical persuasion!