Archive for May, 2010

How You Can Help

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

“We all can be part of the answer to the world’s problems… this film can be a piece of that solution by helping people understand that the choices they make are important.”

–       Co-Producer and Florida Organic Growers Executive Director Marty Mesh

What’s ‘Organic’ About Organic? is a call to action.  We want to not only educate audiences on the importance of organic food, but also help initiate the change needed to bring about stronger organic regulation and progressive food policy.  One of the best ways to be part of the organic movement is to join the film’s Screen & Green campaign that asks organizations and individuals to host screenings of What’s Organic About Organic, combined with a “green” action such as hosting a post-screening panel discussion or a volunteer day.

There are also many ways to promote organic farming practices beyond hosting a screening of What’s Organic About Organic? As the film provokes further questions, the first step to change is to develop greater awareness.  Here’s a list of options for action that Shelley has compiled since living in New York City while producing the film:

Ways to Take Action for Sustainable/Organic Living in NYC:

  • Increase your awareness of the externalization of costs in conventional food production
    • Pollution of air & groundwater; consumption of fuel, loss of topsoil & soil health; health risks associated with exposure to toxins for farm workers & citizens—chemical & pesticide “safe” levels are determined for adults not children; detriment to biodiversity—GMOs;
    • There are many resources out there—one of my favorite websites is the Center for Food Safety: http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/
  • Make a commitment to support or volunteer for organizations that advocate for organic farmers.  The Northeast Organic Farming Association of NY (NOFA-NY) won my heart with their Farmer’s Pledge: http://nofany.org/farmerspledge.htm
  • Grow your own organic food
  • Talk to farmers at greenmarkets
    • Find one in your NYC neighborhood at: www.grownyc.org/
  • Join a CSA—Community Supported Agriculture
    • Like a subscription, you make an investment at the beginning of the season, then get to eat fresh, local, seasonal veggies all summer!  Go to www.JustFood.org to find one in your neighborhood.
  • Compost your food scraps—we generate an incredible amount of waste that can be recycled into productive, nutrient-dense soil!  Plus, it’s empowering to convert your trash into a treasure!
    • You can start a worm bin at home or drop off scraps to a garden or greenmarket location—find vermicomposting resources & map of drop-off locations at: www.lesecologycenter.org
  • Eat organic/local/sustainably-produced food—ask for organic food at restaurants & places you shop!  NOFA-NY has a
    • In 2006, 38% of organic food sales were from grocery store; studies have shown that if 12 people make a request for a certain product, managers will usually accommodate.
    • Get a group of neighbors together & ask for organic/local/sustainably-produced products at your grocery stores!
  • Find a farmer from whom you can buy your Thanksgiving turkey/holiday food.
  • Join a community garden
  • Talk to your child’s school about local school food initiatives, school gardens & get involved! http://www.farmtoschool.org/

Larger Sustainable Agriculture Issues to support:

  • More funding in the Farm Bill for
    • NOP staff/enforcement of compliance
    • Organic Certification cost share programs
    • Risk Parity for Crop Insurance
    • Research on organic productions, specifically soil health/global warming relationship & biological synergies, economic research
    • Organic/sustainable farming programs at State Ag Schools
    • Incentives/resources for farmers to learn how to transition
  • Check out the Organic Farmers Action Network where you can sign up for updates: http://ofrf.org/action/action.html
  • Do you or someone you know want to learn more how to grow organically & start a farm?  Check out www.attra.ncat.org for free information on learning organic/sustainable growing practices.

WOAO? Press Release

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Download a copy of the press release here

Food documentary takes unique look at organic farming and how the industry is being shaped as demand grows

NEW YORK, NY – What’s Organic About Organic?, winner of the prestigious Our Planet award at the Los Angeles Going Green Film Festival, will kick off its national tour with a week-long premiere at the HERE Theater in New York City from June 21st to 27th.  Local Director, Shelley Rogers, is making her filmmaking debut with a documentary that she believes is “a call to action for a public that is increasingly concerned about their food choices.”  The premiere will also serve as the launch of the film’s Screen & Green campaign, which aims to partner with local non-profit organizations nation-wide and encourage the audience to take the next step beyond watching the film and become an engaged participant in the organic food movement.

With the support of co-host organizations such as Just Food, GrowNYC and NOFA-NY, Rogers will hold post-screening panel discussions each evening of the premiere to provide local perspective and context for the film’s message.  Guest speakers will include: Joan Gussow, Professor Emerita of Nutrition Education at Columbia University, Marion Nestle of New York University and Jacquie Berger, Executive Director of Just Food along with many other thought leaders in the agricultural and food world.  Characters from the film will also be in attendance to discuss their experiences.

What’s Organic About Organic? dives into the challenges that arise when a grassroots agricultural movement evolves into a booming international market and reveals what’s at stake in creating and maintaining meaningful standards for organic production.  As more organic products crowd supermarket shelves, citizens are left to question what it really means to be ‘organic.’  “What’s Organic About Organic? takes the discussion beyond eco-label shopping,” said Rogers.  “This film will show audiences that the decisions they make in the grocery store and the policies set by our government should not be just about personal preference, but they should embody a means of supporting an agricultural system that produces healthy food, develops market opportunities for regional food systems, and safeguards our environment for future generations.”

“We all can be part of the answer to the world’s problems,” said Florida Organic Growers’ Executive Director and co-producer of the film, Marty Mesh. “We want to see this film be a piece of that solution by helping people understand that the choices they make are important.”

The film’s premiere week will also include festivities for the Summer Solstice on June 21st and a post-screening fundraising party for NOFA-NY on June 25th at HERE Theater’s adjoining café, Dom Hudson Square.

Screening Dates: June 21 – 27, 2010

Time: 7:00pm / additional matinee screening at 2:00pm on June 26th & 27th

Location: HERE Theater, 145 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY, 10013

For more information and a full list of post-screening panelists, please contact Stephanie@whatsorganicmovie.com or visit http://whatsorganicmovie.com/

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Post-Screening Schedule of Panelists

Monday, June 21 – 7pm screening
Jacquie Berger, Executive Director, Just Food

Hilary Baum, Co-Founder of Food Systems NYC and Founder, Baum Forum

Tuesday, June 22 – 7pm screening

Paul Mankiewicz, Executive Director, Gaia Institute

Karen Washington, President, NYC Community Gardens Coalition

Maria-Paolo Sutto, Director, Urban Design Lab of Columbia’s Earth Institute

Wednesday, June 23 – 7pm screening

Michael Horowitz, Director, Greenmarket Program, GrowNYC

David Hughes, Operations Manager, Greenmarket Program, GrowNYC

Bob Lewis, US Department of Agriculture and Markets

Thursday, June 24 – 7pm screening

Elizabeth Meltz, Director of Sustainability, Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group

Patrick Martins, Co-Founder, Heritage Foods

Jimmy Carbone, Owner, Jimmy’s 43

Carlos Suarez, Owner and Head Chef, Bobo Restaurant

Ian Marvey, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Added Value

Friday, June 25 – 7pm screening

Scott Chaskey, President, NOFA-NY

Peter Hoffman, Chef, Back Forty and Savoy, Member of Chef’s Collaborative

Adriana Velez, Brooklyn Food Coalition

Saturday, June 26 – 2pm matinée

Christine Datz-Romero, Founder & Director, LES Ecology Center

Saturday, June 26 – 7pm screening

Joan Gussow, Professor Emerita of Nutrition Education, Columbia University

John Gorzynski, Farmer/Owner, Ornery Farm and “character” in WOAO?

Claudia Keel, Director, Dr. Weston Price Foundation

Sunday, June 27 – 2pm matinée

Annie Novak, farmer and founder of Growing Chefs

Yonnette Fleming, Urban Gardener

Sunday, June 27 – 7pm screening

Marion Nestle, Professor of Nutrition, New York University

Anne Saxelby, Owner, Saxelby Cheesemongers

Urvashi Rangan, Environmental Health Scientist, Consumer’s Union and “character” in WOAO?

Dennis Derryk, Founder, Corbin Hill Farm

Marty Mesh, Executive Director, Florida Organic Growers and Co-producer, WOAO?