In this podcast, Paul and Jocelyn discuss the movie FRESH, a 2009 documentary by Ana Sofia Joanes, which focuses on our food system and its problems, as well as those who are practicing more sustainable alternatives. Paul starts out the podcast by stating that while Fresh was very well done, he was bored stupid, as he’s heard it all before. Jocelyn and Paul compare the movie to many other films they’ve seen, most notably Food Inc many of which feature the same guests, such as Michael Pollan, Joel Salatin, and Will Allen. Jocelyn points out that Fresh does a better job of representing the sustainable farmer than many similar films they’ve seen, and together they agree that it is probably the best of its bunch, especially considering that its target audience is the typical consumer.
This theme runs throughout the discussion. While Paul believes that Fresh conveys critical information that John Q Public needs to know about, his own listeners are past it already, and it isn’t where he wants to spend his time. At the same time, he believes that most of the public aren’t even aware of what questions they should be asking when it comes to their food system, and Jocelyn points out that it’s probably a good sign that there is a market for films like Fresh. Paul and Jocelyn do discuss many of the highlights of the film, including a farmer who gave up feeding his pigs antibiotics after a run in with one of his boars left him with an antibiotic resistant strep infection that nearly cost him his life. Paul and Jocelyn agree that the film does a fair job of conveying both sides of the story, and that conventional farmers are respectfully portrayed in a sympathetic light as victims who are trapped in an unfair system.
There are some entertaining and informative tangents within the discussion. Paul wonders out loud what advances cows might be capable of, if only they would give up their cowly ways. He also has some ideas about a graded model that could replace the farmers market, and that would easily allow consumers to make informed choices regarding their food. Jocelyn suggests that we could solve a lot of problems if we diverted some of our massive subsidies into supporting small and medium sized farmers, perhaps funding their liability insurance, or helping them achieve costly organic certification.
Overall, the film gets high marks, even if it covers old ground, but mostly Paul wishes there were more examples of real polyculture, and more farmers doing things “his way,” or maybe to be fair, “Sepp’s way”.
Credit: Rob Kartholl
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