farming/agriculture

This is a listing of some of the green-themed films that came out in the last couple of years. Click on each of the links below (or go to IMDB.com) to see previews/trailers, reviews, and descriptions of each film. Click here to see my previous listing of green-themed films; it lists movies that came out between 2006-2011.

Scroll to the bottom of this post to see a list of some green film festivals; those websites provide information on more films, including some brand new ones that haven’t been shown widely yet.

Energy / Power

 

Health / Toxic Chemicals

(Note: Many of the films in the Energy section above also relate to health issues, especially Hot Water, Gasland II, and the Atomic States of America)

 

Food / Agriculture

 

Animal Sentience / Animal Rights

 

Environmental Movement / Activism

  • Green Gold (2012) – Entire film is available to watch online

Water

 

More:  See my list of green-themed films that came out between 2006-2011.

If there are other relevant, recent films that you’ve seen and would recommend to others, please add those in the Comments section below.

Green Film Festivals

These are a few of the annual film fests that I’m aware of. Please let everyone know about others by contributing a Comment! Many of the festivals’ websites feature video clips or entire films (short and full-length films), and they list many additional, new, independent films, beyond what I’ve listed above.

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March 25, 2014
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This is a list of links to information resources related to sustainable agriculture, organic farming and gardening, and growing and buying good, safe food.

Image created by Matt FarrarThese resources are organized into the following general categories (though some are relevant to more than one category): Organizations, Magazines and Blogs, Educational Programs, Funding & Investing, Permaculture, Urban Farms, Agri-Tourism / Farm Tours, International/Non-U.S. Initiatives, Films and Books.

At the end, you will find a few suggestions of simple ways to get involved in the good food movement.

Organizations

Magazines and Blogs

Educational Programs

Funding and Investing

(including some crowdfunding sites)

Permaculture

[Partial list; please mention other groups in the Comments.]

Urban Farms

[This is just a small selection; there are many, many more. Please mention other urban farms you are familiar with in the Comments.]

Agri-Tourism / Farm Tours

International/Non-U.S. Initiatives

Films and Books

Many films about food and farming have come out recently. One of the most recent is Symphony of the Soil.

There are also many good books on these topics. One new one is called Farmacology: What Innovative Family Farming Can Teach Us About Health and Healing, by Daphne Miller, MD.

I also recommend reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, as well as books by Wendell Berry, Michael Ableman, Michael Pollan, Frances Moore Lappe, Anna Lappe, and Marion Nestle.

For other relevant books, check out the offerings from Chelsea Green Publishing, Mother Earth News, and New Society Publishers.

Taking Part

You don’t have to be a farmer to be involved in sustainable agriculture and the good food movement. Here are just a few of the steps that almost anyone can take, to create a healthier family, healthier community, and a healthier planet:

  • Buy organic, non-GMO, and locally grown foods whenever possible (from the grocery, a farmer’s market, local farms, a CSA, etc.) To find local farms, farmer’s markets, or food providers, go to LocalHarvest.org, and if you live in California or New York, check out Farmigo.com, which is basically an online Farmer’s Market or CSA for small or large groups.
  • If/when you buy meat (from stores or at restaurants), avoid getting factory-farmed meats. Look for and ask for meats from grass-fed and grass-finished animals, that are free of antibiotics and added hormones, and that also, ideally, have third-party certifications (such as Animal Welfare Approved) verifying that the animals were raised and slaughtered humanely. Boosting the demand for such products will help shift the industry away from factory farming. (We’ll be adding a blog post with more information on humanely raised meat in the future.)
  • Buy organic, non-GMO seeds and organically grown plants, and plant them in a kitchen garden, window boxes, porch pots, raised beds, a greenhouse, a community garden, or wherever you can.  Use organic/natural rather than toxic chemical pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. It’s fun and satisfying to swap your surplus harvest with friends and neighbors.
  • Replace water-intensive, conventional grass lawns with a garden, or no-mow native grasses or groundcovers. Choose low-water (drought-tolerant), native or adapted (climate-appropriate) plants and flowers, including those that attract and feed pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

 

Related posts:

Sustainable Agriculture in the Spotlight: Fresh films, books, etc.  [August 2009]

Sustainable Ag: Marin and Sonoma County Resources

Recent Films with Green Themes: Food, farming, energy, etc.  [2011]

Quotations for Gardeners, Farmers, and Others  [MotherEarthNews.com blog]

Chocolates of Choice: Organic, Fair Trade, and Delicious

 

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July 24, 2013
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People all over the world are starting to see an increase in extreme and volatile weather, record-breaking “natural” disasters, shifting seasons and habitats, species losses, and dwindling resources. (These are all trends that climate scientists accurately predicted would occur as a result of high levels of greenhouse gas emissions.) This climatological and ecological instability is creating huge economic burdens and heart-breaking social disruption and dislocation, and climate projections show that the situation will almost certainly get worse.

As the costs and consequences of climate change become impossible to ignore, more people are recognizing the need to be more prepared for the challenges we’re likely to face in the short-term and the long-term (e.g., power outages, food and water shortages, or flooding from storms and sea level rise in some areas). A variety of initiatives are arising that aim to share ways of becoming more resilient—i.e., able to survive and thrive in the face of climate-related dangers. These efforts are occurring at the household, community, town, city, regional, and global levels.

Some initiatives are focused on the design of durable, climate-responsive, and disaster-resistant homes and buildings, including dwellings that can withstand hurricanes, floods, or earthquakes, or that incorporate “passive” heating or natural cooling strategies so that they can remain livable when there is no power; later this year I will post a list of companies that design and manufacturer disaster-resistant homes. Other initiatives are focused on personal or local food security; or the decentralization of energy production into localized or on-site power generation; or restoring degraded or contaminated land and habitats; or creating self-sufficient rural homesteads, self-reliant communities, and/or strong local economies.

While many of these have been grassroots efforts, the importance of resilience as a key requirement for sustainability is also beginning to be understood at an institutional, policy-making level. For examples, some major cities (e.g., San Francisco, New York, Seattle) see the writing on the wall and are actively trying to figure out how to become more adaptive and make their systems and infrastructure more robust and secure.

These are some noteworthy resilience-related initiatives and information resources:

  • Resilience  (a program of the Post Carbon Institute)

RDI explains resilience well: “Resilience is the capacity to bounce back after a disturbance or interruption of some sort. At various levels —individuals, households, communities, and regions — through resilience we can maintain livable conditions in the event of natural disasters, loss of power, or other interruptions in normally available services.  Relative to climate change, resilience involves adaptation to the wide range of regional and localized impacts that are expected with a warming planet: more intense storms, greater precipitation, coastal and valley flooding, longer and more severe droughts in some areas, wildfires, melting permafrost, warmer temperatures, and power outages.  Resilient design is the intentional design of buildings, landscapes, communities, and regions in response to the these vulnerabilities.”

The various actions that they suggest are organized into these 12 categories:

1.) Ensure that a home is safe in a storm. 2.) Build to resist or survive rain and flooding. 3.) Build super-insulated envelopes. 4.) Incorporate passive solar design in heating climates. 5.) Minimize cooling loads in cooling climates. 6.) Provide natural cooling. 7.) Maximize daylighting. 8.) Provide backup renewable energy systems. 9.) Plan for water shortages. 10.) Address fire resistance and durability. 11.) Consider resilience at the community scale. 12.) Support local food production.

  • Hunt Utilities Group (HUG): a resilient-homes research and development campus in Minnesota. (More info about them here.)
  • Mother Earth News, which focuses on modern homesteading, among other resilience-relevant topics

Related posts:  

 

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February 28, 2013
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This is a listing of green-themed films that came out in the last few years (between 2006-2011). I have not seen all of these films, so I can’t say that all of them are worth seeing, but many of them have won awards or been critically acclaimed. Click on the links below (or go to IMDB.com) to see previews/trailers, reviews, and descriptions of each film. Scroll to the bottom of the post to see a list of some green film festivals; those sites provide videos and information on even more films.

UPDATE: Also see our newer post on Green-themed Films 2012-2014.

Films on energy, fuel, and/or climate change:

Films on food and/or farming:

Films on other topics (e.g., health/toxins/pollution, water, localization, dolphins, etc.):

If there are other relevant films that you’ve heard of or seen and would recommend to others, please add those in the Comments section below.

* Films that are marked with an asterisk are films that have a more positive or funny bent than many of the others. There are only so many bleak films about reality that people can watch in a row without getting depressed or angry and feeling helpless to make a difference. I find that it’s best to take in some positive stories, solutions, and humor now and then, to keep myself sane and motivated…

UPDATE: Also see our newer listing of Green-themed Films from 2012-2014.

 

Green Film Festivals

These are a few of the annual film fests that I’m aware of. Please let everyone know about others by contributing a Comment! Many of the festivals’ websites feature video clips or entire films (short and full-length films), and they list many additional, new, independent films, beyond what I’ve listed above.

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August 1, 2011
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The Goldman Environmental Prize is the world’s largest award for grassroots environmentalists. This is the 21st year that the prize has been awarded. The winners are models of courage, and their stories are inspiring.

This year’s prize recipients are: Lynn Henning of Michigan (USA); Randall Arauz of Costa Rica; Humberto Rios Labrada of Cuba; Malgorzata Gorska of Poland; Thuli Brilliance Makama of Swaziland; and Tuy Sereivathana of Cambodia. Click on the links to read about—or watch a brief video about—each of this year’s recipients.

Last year’s recipient from the U.S. was Maria Gunnoe, who has fought to stop mountaintop-removal mining in West Virginia.

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April 19, 2010
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The Lambi Fund of Haiti has an established track record of implementing successful programs for sustainable development and agriculture, community economic development, and economic justice in Haiti. Their local empowerment initiatives have helped to improve food security, water safety, resource conservation, and community self-sufficiency, particularly in rural areas. The Lambi Fund will be actively engaged in forward-thinking initiatives like these to help Haitian communities recover economically after this terrible earthquake. Please check out their website for details about their efforts.

In addition, a number of groups from around the world will be involved in rebuilding housing and other buildings in Haiti after the earthquake. Many of them will strive to build more sustainable, disaster-resistant structures. Click below to learn about the efforts of these important organizations:

For the more immediate relief needs of emergency/transitional shelter, a couple of options include: World Shelters and ShelterBox. Please consider supporting the work of one or more of these organizations by donating or volunteering for their projects.

Update (4/5/10): Also see this new commentary on Rebuilding in Haiti, by Allison Arieff on The New York Times website; and a description of several Haiti redevelopment programs suggested by Sustainable Land Development International.

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January 16, 2010
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This is an addendum to the previous post for those of you who live in (or near) Marin or Sonoma County, California.

ca-seedbank-store-frontWe are fortunate to have a plethora of amazing farms and sustainable agriculture resources in this area. One very cool new addition to our local scene is the “Seed Bank” store, located in a historic bank building at a major intersection in downtown Petaluma (Washington and Petaluma Blvd.). The store sells more than 1,200 varieties of non-GMO Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

Our area is also home to many farmers markets, as well as wonderful organizations such as:
Marin Organic :: MALT (Marin Agricultural Land Trust) :: Grown in Marin :: Petaluma Bounty :: Sonoma County Farm Trails :: Occidental Arts and Ecology Center :: Ag Innovations Network :: Mostly Natives Nursery

You might also want to check out the Hidden Bounty of Marin, a recently produced 1/2-hour film about the farms and farmers of beautiful West Marin; it shows the rich variety of agricultural enterprises in this region—from dairy, produce, and oyster farming to cattle, hog, and sheep ranching.

There are many great family farms in this area. Wild Blue Farm, Toluma Farms (goat dairy), and Straus Family Creamery are some of my favorites, as they’re the farms that I’m most familiar with.

And lastly, here’s my list of links to other sustainability-related resources in the North Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area. If you have other favorite local organizations or resources to recommend, please share them in the Comments section below. Thanks!

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August 6, 2009
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Building on what Super Size Me and Fast Food Nation did to expose the health problems associated with eating fast food, a veritable cornucopia of new documentary films have recently come out, bringing attention to a broader array of issues related to factory farms and feedlots and to the benefits of sustainable farming and ranching. These films include:

FoodInc-movie_poster

Update (8/13/09): A dozen other important food-focused films have just been highlighted by Serious Eats.

And on Showtime TV, Season 1 of This American Life had a great segment on factory-farmed genetically modified pigs. (The show can be rented through NetFlix, etc. I highly recommend watching both seasons.)

A fresh crop of books have recently been published on these topics, as well, including:

For additional information on sustainable agriculture and good, real food, check out resources such as: Organic Consumers Association, The Land Institute, Roots of Change, Slow Food USA or Slow Food International, Fields of Plenty, Animal Welfare Approved, and Certified Humane.

Please support small, organic farms and your local farmers markets; consider joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm or growing some organic produce in your yard or a community garden; and if you eat meat or dairy products, choose products (e.g., Niman Ranch) that come from humanely raised, non-hormone-boosted animals. To sign the Declaration for Healthy Food and Agriculture (from Roots for Change), click here.

On a related note: Today (August 5) is Wendell Berry’s 75th birthday! Wendell Berry is a prolific writer and poet, a life-long Kentucky farmer, and an advocate of sustainable agriculture.

Please see our NEWER POST: Sustainable Agriculture, Farming, Gardening, and Food-Related Resources [July 2013]

 

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August 5, 2009
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