Wisconsin’s Homegrown Farmer.
The FairShare CSA Coalition is celebrating 25 years of connecting local farms and the community by hosting a food-themed film festival.
“We thought this would be great opportunity to shed light on the good food movement,” says Carrie Sedlak, program manager at FairShare. “It will also highlight the work that we’ve done over the past two decades.” The nonprofit will screen six documentaries related to sustainable food production at the High Noon Saloon starting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 21.
The FairShare CSA Coalition is a “collaborative network” of community-supported-agriculture growers. In addition to helping consumers find the right CSA, the nonprofit also spearheads the cost-sharing program Partner Shares. The effort provides financial assistance to low-income families interested in purchasing CSA shares.
“We didn’t want to focus exclusively on CSAs or what we are doing at FairShare,” says Sedlak. “But the films we selected definitely bring attention to several topics that we care about and support. This is especially true of expanding food access, which has long been a mission of FairShare with our Partners Shares program.”
Sedlak says the current political climate also makes the festival timely.
Beyond the Seal (left) and Unbroken Ground.
“A lot of people feel as though they don’t have a lot of choice right now. But you do have control over what you eat. It’s a great time to talk about how consumers can support local food production,” says Sedlak. “It’s important to make intentional choices. To put your money where your heart is and where your values are.”
FairShare’s film fest kicks off with Unbroken Ground, produced by outdoor gear outfitter Patagonia. The film tells the story of four groups pioneering new methods to make farming, fishing and grazing more sustainable.
Wisconsin’s Homegrown Farmer — from Wisconsin Public Television — will also be screened. It follows the changing face of agriculture by telling the story of a CSA farm run by a Wisconsin family.
Beyond the Seal documents the fight of small-scale banana farmers in Ecuador to make bananas a Fair Trade fruit. The film also exposes the toxic methods used in conventional production of the most widely eaten fruit in the United States.
National Geographic’s Hunger in America’s Heartland portrays a family struggling with food security and profiles the work of food banks in alleviating hunger in the United States.
Ground Operatons (left) and Hunger in America's Heartland.
Ground Operations spotlights the growing coalition of combat veterans making the transition to new careers as sustainable farmers, ranchers and artisan food producers after they return to civilian life.
The last film being screened, fittingly, is about FairShare itself. It highlights the nonprofit’s work building a coalition of CSA farms in southern Wisconsin and the group’s annual Bike the Barns fundraising event.
“If we get a good showing this year, we’d like to make this film festival an annual event that will focus on different topics each year,” says Sedlak. “The food system is vast, and there’s a lot of ground to cover. We’re interested in doing more to cover labor in agriculture as well as climate change.”
Presenters at the festival include Sarah Lloyd from the Wisconsin Farmers Union; George Reistad, food policy coordinator for the city of Madison; Kat Becker, farmer at Stoney Acres Farm & Cattail Organics; and Steve Acheson, a veteran and co-owner of Peacefully Organic Produce.
Tickets for FairShare’s Food + Farms Film Festival are available at the High Noon Saloon website ($12 advance/$14 door). Locally made snacks and popcorn will also be available for purchase.