1. Often times, when watching documentaries on the food industry they seem to focus on swaying the viewer towards one particular concept through portraying only perspectives and images, which tends to be biased. What was refreshing to see in the documentary Fresh was that it didn't only focus on the negatives of the industrial food industry, but it also showed, for the majority of the film, the different farming methods, or new ways of thinking, that can change the food production industry. The strength of Fresh was definitely that it continually showed the viewers that there were farmers out there actually implementing sustainable farming, versus only showing us negative images of the industrial farming industry.
At the beginning of the documentary the quote, "Americans fear inconvenience" (Fresh), stood out to me as very powerful, simply because it's true. Yet, one of the most important ideas, mentioned several times throughout the documentary, is that industrial agriculture is simply not sustainable, and that unlike popular belief, the world can be fed through organic agriculture. It may be true that organic agriculture is 'inconvenient' for many Americans, but in the long run is producing healthy, sustainable, and organic food really 'inconvenient'?
Another interesting comment made in the documentary is that it is really the people that will ultimately decide where the food industry goes. "Cheap food is an illusion", and whether the food industry continues to implement industrial agriculture or organic agriculture will be decided at the grocery stores, "you're voting with your dollar" (Fresh).
2. Research Source and Theme: Will Allen and Urban Farming
An Urban Farming Activist, Will Allen, “has been an innovator in methods of composting, vermicomposting (the use of worms to refine and fertilize compost) and aquaphonics (growing fish and food plants in a closed system)… [which] result in remarkable yields of food” (“Will Allen: Street Farmer”). Will is the CEO and founder of Growing Power Inc., which is a non-profit organization dedicated to help teach sustainable farming. As it tied into my research source, I decided to further look into urban farming. Urban farming is defined as, “the practice of cultivating, processing and distributing food in or around a village, town or city” (“Urban Agriculture”). Some unique forms of urban agriculture that I came across include: Green Roofs, Movable Farms, Rolling Greens, and Office Farms. In large cities green roofs are becoming quite popular and involve laying potted plants atop of high-rise buildings with flat roofs. This is not only great for those who live in the city as a source of fresh produce, but are also good for those marketing their apartment buildings as it can be allotted as an extra amenity. Movable farms are also taking interest in cities as they are gardens planted on removable plates so that if needed the entire garden can be moved without loss of produce or profit. Another interesting type of urban farming is rolling greens. Rolling greens are small gardens planted in the bed of a pick-up truck. This enables the gardener to bring fresh produce to many neighborhoods around the city and also is sometimes used as a moving educational tool for others living in the city about the fundamentals of urban agriculture. Lastly, being implemented in China is a form of urban agriculture called an Office Farm. It involves an office building in the city designating at least one room in the office to contain essentially a 'greenhouse' full of organic produce. The idea behind the Office Farm is to reconnect the workers with nature, as they can tend to the plants and subsist off the plants for and during their lunch hours.
3. Peer Blog Post Response
Luke definitely brought up a great point in his blog post, that the documentary had a weakness in its “approach to addressing existing cities, where receiving fresh produce can be next to impossible” (Luke Vest). This weakness is something I feel is there as well, which is partially why I decided to look into the different urban agriculture techniques that existing cities can potentially implement. Hopefully, though the documentary did not go into excessive detail on what can be done about brining fresh produce into cities, the urban farming methods, such as those mentioned in the above paragraph, will begin to catch on and will be seen in the future in cities.
"Will Allen: Street Farmer. “Growing Power Inc., N.P., 23 Aug. 2014. Web. 30 Nov. 2014. < http://www.growingpower.org/?p=5>
“Urban Agriculture.” Wikipedia Foundation, 6 Nov. 2014. Web. 30 Nov. 2014.< http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_agriculture> .