National Farmers Market Week kicks off this Sunday, August 4 and runs through Saturday, August 10. I hope you will join me for this year’s celebration at your local market. Of all food system innovations in the U.S. in the last 20 years, the resurgence of farmers markets may represent the most important DIY expression of community involvement and reinvention. In small town squares and big city centers, farmers markets delicately balance new food innovation with old food traditions. These community-centered markets celebrate the dignity of labor that brings nourishment from field to fork, and provide a safe haven for newcomers to become old friends. When roaming your market this week leaves you hungry to do more, take your support of Slow Food values to the next level… Host a “Grow” DinnerUse the five principles of Oxfam’s “Grow Method” to plan your meal 1 reduce food waste, 2 cook and buy food efficiently, 3 buy only what’s in season/local, 4 reduce meat consumption, and 5 buy products that benefit small-scale producers. Have a “Meatless Monday”Give up meat one day a week with these top 10 seasonal recipes from our friends at Meatless Monday. Eating less meat and more nutrient-rich vegetables can help reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity – and save water and fossil fuels, too. The more we can connect these environmental issues to our everyday choices, the more effective we can be in changing the future of food in this country. See you at the market!
Seifert and producer Joshua Kunau secured funding, and created perhaps the most beautiful food movie I’ve ever
seen.“GMO OMG” is a film that the natural foods industry desperately needs. Whereas other GMO-focused documentaries are overtly scientific and technical, such as Jeffery Smith’s “Genetic Roulette”, “GMO OMG” is inspirational and designed for people who don’t religiously shop at natural retailers. This is illuminated at the beginning of the film, when Seifert asks pedestrians if they’ve ever eaten a GMO. Most people don’t know what they are, and are surprised, even appalled to learn that they’re omnipresent in nearly all processed food.
But what’s so interesting about the film is Seifert’s journey to teach his (adorable) children about GMOs—a seemingly tough concept to grasp for adults, let alone 6-year-olds. He takes his kids into grocery stores, through drive-thru windows and on a road trip across the United States, teaching them what makes GMOs different from other seeds. It’s remarkable to see young children trying to comprehend the GMO issue.
Seifert films through the lens of a concerned parent, which, I think, will make it so much more salient to viewers. It humanizes the non-GMO movement because it stokes our innate parental protectiveness.
It’s also notable that Seifert interviews both organic farmers and farmers who use GMOs. He allows them equal screen time to foster an honest discussion about the morals and implications of using genetically engineered seeds. We see GMO farmers filling the reservoir of their tractors with Roundup and atrazine—an image most Americans (this one included) have never seen if they grew up in urban or suburban settings.
One farmer points out a giant glyphosate-resistant ragweed on the edge of his farm, and relates that his whole field would be covered in the “stuff” if he didn’t use Roundup. “Can you eat that?” jokes Seifert.
The most moving part of the movie was when Seifert allowed his children to Trick-or-Treat during Halloween. Afterwards, he films his kids pooling their Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Snickers and Skittles in big piles. They look exuberant as they sort and trade their candy—a memory many of us share.
The largest problem, Seifert explains, is that “opting out of GMOs is opting out of American culture.” GMOs are everywhere, and if parents want to avoid them they run the risk of depriving their kids childhood joys. “Who doesn’t want to buy their kids a treat from the ice cream truck on a hot day?” he asks.
The film is symbolic, moving, atmospherically gorgeous and a call to action. And it’s in the interest of the natural products industry to help it get into theaters. This, my friends, is the next iteration of Supersize Me.