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Archive for the ‘media’ Category

Did you have a chance to see the documentary What’s Organic About Organic when it screened in West Palm Beach yesterday at the Slow Food Glades to Coast Leadership Meeting? If you missed it, or want to see it again, and are up for a drive to Punta Gorda, check this out:

Sunday, October 30, 2011
Activities at 6:00 p.m. Screening at 7:00 p.m.

Come make organic candied apples, enjoy organic popcorn and watch a film with the Director, Shelley Rogers and Character and Co-Producer, Marty Mesh! Community discussion will follow the screening. This event is a FUNdraiser for Florida Organic Growers (FOG). $20/person, kids under 12 enter free.

About the film:

Directed by Shelley Rogers, this film rings the alarm for the need to develop an ecological consciousness. The film illustrates that the organic food debate extends well beyond personal choice and into the realm of social responsibility. Each of the film’s characters is intimately connected to the organic world; they’re farmers, activists, and scientists. While many folks can easily endorse “organic,” the characters in the film take the discussion beyond just shopping for another eco-label.

As we glimpse into each of their lives, we see how organic agriculture has the potential to solve many of our environmental and health problems. The film will explore how organic farming can be used as a soil and air protection system, a healthy solution to toxic pollution, and an innovative means to combat global warming.

What’s Organic About “Organic”? delves into the debates that arise when a grassroots agricultural movement evolves into a booming international market. As the film moves from farm fields to government meetings to industry trade shows, we see the hidden costs of conventional agriculture. We also see how our health, the health of our planet, and the agricultural needs of our society are all intimately connected. The film compels us to look forward, towards a new vision for our culture and encourages us to ask, “How can we eat with an ecological consciousness?”

Location:

Worden Farm
34900 Bermont Road
Punta Gorda, Florida 33982
(941) 637-4874
office@wordenfarm.com

If you’re not able to travel, buy your own DVD here. Put the word out and host your own screening. Each copy comes with a public screening license, and the cost varies by the size of the audience.

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Food Justice Film Series

On occasion of of National Food Day (October 24), Youth L.E.A.D. and O Cinema present What’s on Your Plate? a critically acclaimed documentary that follows two eleven year old multi-racial city kids over the course of one year as they explore their place in the food chain, and shows their point of view on the growing local food movement in New York.

The film will be shown on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011 at 1 pm.

Location:

O Cinema
90 NW 29th Street
Miami, FL 33127
(305) 571-9970

To purchase tickets go to: http://www.eventbrite.com/event/2118208619

From 11 am to 4 pm, Urban Oasis Project will have a farmer’s market set up, and the vegan food truck Mac’N will also be there.

This screening is part of the Food Justice Film Series, which focuses on food justice and responsible eating through films, discussions, and food tastings given by local/organic producers. Sponsored by Slow Food Miami.

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Finally on Facebook

Redland Rambles finally has a fan page on Facebook! Check it out here or use the link in the right hand column. BTW there’s a very similar page called Redland Ramble (without the “s”). It’s not mine.

This blog will continue with its three degrees of writing about: 1) Bee Heaven Farm, 2) various organic growers which interact with Bee Heaven (such as members of Redland Organics), and 3) CSA members, chefs, customers and other friends of Bee Heaven, and any local issues that impact these Redland growers and friends. That’s plenty right there!

The Facebook page is for all friends of the blog, and for me to go on tangents about farm and local food issues that wouldn’t otherwise belong on RedlandRambles.com. See you on Facebook!

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Vanishing of the Bees, an intriguing new documentary about Colony Collapse Disorder, is back in town for a FREE one-night screening.  

Date: Sunday August 21, 2011
Time: 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Location: Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
10901 Old Cutler Road
Coral Gables FL 33156

Back in May, Vanishing of the Bees showed for only one night at the new, state of the art Coral Gables Cinematheque. And it was a good turnout — over 200 people packed the auditorium. Proceeds from that screening went to support Slow Food Miami’s school garden program.

Beekeeper John Herring and filmmaker Maryam Henein at the May screening.

The filmmaker, Maryam Henein, was present to introduce her film and answered questions after the showing. She was accompanied by John Herring, a beekeeper from Broward County, who brought a sample hive and various tools of his trade, who also answered questions about bees. Farmer Margie Pikarsky and interns Mike and Sadie from Bee Heaven Farm came with many boxes of local honey and wildflower bouquets for sale.

Vanishing of the Bees is a real-life mystery story which begins with two commercial beekeepers, David Hackenberg and Dave Mendes, who tell similar stories of how one day they came to check on their hives and found them inexplicably empty. They realized their problem wasn’t only with their hives, or happening in Southwest Florida where they were located. It was a growing, serious problem in 35 states and also in Europe. Bees were either vanishing, or their immune systems were succumbing to all kinds of pathogens. Populations were dying faster than they could be replaced, and nobody knew why. The film goes on a journey that follows David and Dave as they try to solve their mystery, and in the process they discover how they can keep their bees healthy and productive, and their beekeeping businesses alive.

Through the course of researching and making her film, Maryam became a passionate and tireless activist for the honeybee. Her love and concern is clearly apparent in the film, which weaved a magic spell around the audience that night. As the story unfolded, people were pulled in; and at one scene in the middle, you could almost hear a pin drop as facts built up and pointed to the most likely causes of bee die-offs. The camerawork is amazing, bringing you very close to slow-motion bees in mid-flight, and editing and animation are superb.

Support the bees

The film does end on a hopeful note, that it’s not too late for ordinary people to save the honeybee. “Colony Collapse Disorder is a wake up call,” Maryam said after the screening. “There’s a big abyss between the people who know and the people who don’t know. Every one of you is a worker bee” to get out the word and take action.

She mentioned several ways you can help the bees and support your own good health. The easiest thing to do is buy organic produce and local honey. (You can find both at local farmers markets.) Organic farmers are not allowed to use systemic pesticides or other dangerous chemicals that can harm bees. Most organic farms tend to have a happy mix of several kinds of plants that support bees, and most farms keep hives and sell local honey. 

Mike and Margie from Bee Heaven Farm with honey and wildflower bouquets for sale at the screening.

Another simple thing you can do is avoid buying “honey-flavored” breads, cereals and other products. They are sweetened with honey blends imported from China. “Funny honey” is diluted with lactose syrup, high fructose corn syrup or other sweeteners. It is also tainted with strong antibiotics and lead residues. Corporate bakeries — and the film named General Mills and Pillsbury — buy imported honey because it is very cheap. (Real honey costs a lot more because U.S. beekeepers can’t produce enough to meet demand.) 

If you have the space, a fun thing you can do is plant a bee-friendly garden, with an assortment of plants that bloom throughout the year to attract pollinators. Choose low-maintenance native plants and wildflowers, keep fruit trees, or raise vegetables in your garden or in containers on your patio or balcony. Whatever you do, DO NOT use systemic pesticides! Those are the kind that are applied once a season or once a year as a soil drench, and “provide protection without spraying.” Plants suck those chemicals up through their roots, and all their cells and pollen itself become poisoned. Bees then gather tainted pollen, bring it back to their hive, and make themselves very sick from it, sick to the point of death. 

Support the film

Vanishing of the Bees is a completely independent production, and it took a long time and a lot of money to make it happen. From researching and writing the script to the final edit took about four years to make, and it cost half a million dollars. (Just the editing alone took a year and cost a good chunk of money.) Maryam raised funds a little bit at a time, from donations and sponsorships, and they went toward paying film expenses. When she wasn’t filming, she supported herself at times as a waitress, and admitted that for a while she was on food stamps and maxed out credit cards to survive. 

Maryam and her producers are making their money back with donations and DVD sales. Right now, they are running a promotion and selling the DVD on their web site for a reduced price of $14.99 for a personal viewing license. (They might also be selling the DVD at Sunday’s screening.) Maryam wants to get her DVD into schools. “Education is the beginning,” she said. “We are the generation waking up. The change is coming up in the generations behind us.” At the time of the May screening, she needed to raise about $12 thousand to develop a companion study guide. She is self-distributing her film, and is actively seeking venues for future screenings. The next Florida screening is in Tampa on August 29th.

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SFDB Post of the Month


Glory be and hallelujah! The good folks over at South Florida Daily Blog decided they liked my post, For the Love of Lychees, so much that they voted it the post of the month for June.

Thanks for the honor! I’m touched the post brought back pleasant memories of savoring backyard fruit. Place has a taste, and those local flavors tell you where you are, or where you are from. Glad I was able to help you (and hopefully others) make that connection.

Many, many thanks to lychee grower Steven Green who invited me to document picking day, and gave me lots of good information. Couldn’t have done it without his help.

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