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The Scarlet & Black

Grinnell students organize food film festival

Next Wednesday at 7 p.m., new Sociology professor Craig Upright’s Food & Society class will conclude their Food Film Festival with a showing of the film “Fresh.”
Grinnell’s first Food Film Festival was born when Upright realized that due to the farming culture of Grinnell’s surrounding area, the film would be of interest not just to his class but to the greater college community. The Films Committee agreed to Upright’s request to show “Fresh” in the Harris Cinema, and went on to ask if there were other similar films he wanted to show.
Jake McVeigh ’11, along with Maxx Ferrell ’12, Lorejune Fernandez ’12 and Ami Freeberg ’10—all students from Upright’s class—became the real organizers of the food festival. Offered as an alternative to writing a paper for their mid-semester exam, the students eagerly took the opportunity. They organized the bulk of the event, particularly the Wednesday showing of “Fresh” and the panel discussion afterwards.
“We had to find funding, find a place to show the film, find panel participants along with promoting the film,” McVeigh said. “Basically, all the legwork.”
“This film festival has four documentaries looking at different aspects of how the food that is produced in the United States comes to our table,” Upright said. “It’s centered around the movie ‘Fresh,’ which is looking at several different alternative producers who are trying to enter the main steam market and sell their goods.”
The four panel participants that McVeigh and the other organizers selected are all active in the world of the food production. They include a fifth generation Iowa farmer, a co-founder of a non-profit organization promoting entrepreneurial agriculture in the metropolitan area, a President Emeritus of the National Family Farm Coalition and a representative from Freemont Farms of Iowa.
The discussion panel will take place after the showing of “Fresh” on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in JRC 101. The other three films that will be showing are “Food, Inc.” on Monday, “King Corn” on Tuesday and “The Real Dirt on Farmer John” on Thursday, all at 8 p.m. in Harris Cinema. The Center for Prairie Studies will be serving popcorn from locally grown corn during the viewing of the films.
“I think [the festival] is very important and offers [intellectual] opportunities up to students who usually wouldn’t take a ‘Soc class’ or give a second thought to how our food is produced and how we get food in the D-hall,” McVeigh said. “It gives them a chance to see what’s really going on. The system we have in place is not the best system and it just won’t last. It’s the least efficient and isn’t really good for anybody.”

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