The beauty of the Appalachian Mountains brought tears to my eyes as I drove into West Virginia. And nestled in the rolling hills is the beautiful capitol city of Charleston, where the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences brings world-class culture to the mountain community.
As I crossed the street to head to the screening, I was surprised and humbled to see two familiar faces flash up on the lighted marquee—mine and featured farmer in What’s Organic About Organic?, John Gorzynski.
To my delight, an audience spanning a wide range of ages (my guess is 8-80) filed into the theater before screen time. During the discussion following the film, one family revealed, to my great honor, that they drove two hours just to attend the screening. They were avid gardeners and were particularly interested in learning about compost, so I told them about my experience with worms in my NYC apartment.
Folks were also curious about the cost and paperwork involved in organic certification; so I told them about how many farmers feel that the record-keeping required helps them become better farmers and how the USDA’s organic certification cost-share program helps defray the financial demand.
A great discussion was sparked about the seeming void of organic growers in the local area. I suggested checking the website www.localharvest.org where you can type in your zip code to find local farms and read about their specialties and production methods. I also suggested talking to local growers and kindly asking about how they deal with the particular challenges of farming when it comes to pests, weeds, and fertility. Telling farmers that you value the environment and letting them know that there’s a market demand for organic and more ecological methods, might help inspire them to learn more or even to transition to organic production.
The icing on the cake of the evening, was when one lady told me that her husband, who previously nagged her about buying organic food for their family because he was skeptical about the meaning and value, told her that he “got it” after watching the movie. Now that’s a treat of a compliment!
Post and photos by Shelley Rogers, OSIP Touring Filmmaker. Read more about her film, What’s ‘Organic’ About Organic? here.