Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Fresh Documentary Review

1/30/2013

I have seen the documentary "Fresh" at least three times now despite its poor graphic quality. The documentary has many great messages, is inspirational, and I would recommend to anyone but especially those who want or have a farm, even if its just a hobby farm.

The documentary puts great emphasis on the evils of industrialized farming, and they aren't wrong about them. In industrialized farming we see alot of issues: Inhumane treatment of animals, toxic manure, waste problems, mass amounts of pharmaceutics entering our food supply, and a created need for synthetic fertilizer. Mono-cultures are not found in nature because they are very vulnerable especially to disease and pests. Manure if produced naturally is not toxic and is a fertilizer, but when industry farmers begin using cattle feed and introducing chemicals into the bodies of the animal their manure becomes tainted and no longer is to be used as a fertilizer, which creates the need for synthetic fertilizer and creates a waste issue.

Joel, a sustainable farmer from Virginia did the first part of the documentary. While he referred to the cattle as T-Bone steaks you could see how much he loved the animals by the fact that he provided a ladder for chickens that were facing a two foot drop. Clearly they could have made it on there own but that gesture shows that he cares. He said, and I quote, "Part of our duty as stewards of the Earth is to respect the design of nature". Those are words of wisdom right there, and he lives by them.

Joel moves his cattle from paddock to paddock to mimic there natural herding instinct. He follows the cattle about three days later with birds who pick the fly larvae out of the manure and also eat other pests. The manure fertilizes the field to provide more food for the cattle, its a great cycle! Joel respects the animals nature unlike factory farms. In factory/industrialized farms chickens beaks and claws are cut, which are crucial for them to scratch and peck/eat bugs including pests. Chickens are natures pesticides! He personally knows farmers feeding dead chickens to cows, who are herbivores. There is also dead animal byproduct in many herbivores feeds, given to the animals on feed lots. It's Joels opinion that this defiance of the laws of nature are what caused the avian flu, mad cow disease, and other food health safety issues that we encounter. He estimates that he makes about $3000 per acre, yet doesn't have to buy seeds or fertilizer. Another of his quotes "if we take care of the grass the grass will take care of the animals!".


Russ Kremer is featured in "Fresh" following Joel. He was once an industry style farmer. He ran a Hog Farm and discovered that his hogs were always sick so he was treating them with antibiotics and pharmaceutics all the time. When he got stabbed in the leg by the bore hogs tusk he developed strep, all the pharmaceutics he was giving the hog made the Strep resistant to the antibiotics prescribed and doctors didn't think Kremer would live to tell others about it. Since the near death experience Kremer has become an organic farmer. He hasn't used antibiotics on his farm in fourteen years and estimated he saved 14k in pharmaceutics the first year alone. His farm currently has 300 organic hogs.

David Ball, owner of Hen House Superstore, partners with Good Nature Family Farms, which is an alliance of 75 locally owned and operated farms. Vegetables, Fruits, Dairy, Meats, Poultry, Honey, etc can all be bought from his store and be supporting the local economy! Buying local in addition to boosting your local economy also contains more nutrients, because food begins loosing nutrients as soon as its harvested.

Will Allen, the director of Growing Power, was also featured in Fresh. http://www.growingpower.org/

He grows a variety of produce on just 3 acres. His farm is chemical free, uses worm composting, and an impressive filtration system. In addition to growing produce Allen also has fish. I included the website where you can learn more, and he and the organization are featured in another documentary that I will be blogging about in the future in more detail.

Ultimately I would recommend this documentary. Anything that makes you think and reconsider how your living your life is worth listening to if you believe it might cause you or help you make a positive change. The main point of this documentary from my understanding is to promote people to buy locally and to promote decentralizing the food system in order to boost the economy, make our food system more sustainable, and less vulnerable.