Did I mention that I had a great time at the Polyface Farm Field Day?
Well, the awesomeness of my weekend didn’t stop there.
I was thrilled to be able to attend the premiere of American Meat, a new documentary, at the Visulite in Staunton, Virgina. From the film’s website:
American Meat explores the complexities embedded in the highly debated practices of the American meat industry. As the economy drives a contraction of conventional chicken, pork and beef operations, we hear the innovative methods of the charismatic, Virginia-based farmer, Joel Salatin.
At the Farm Day, I was able to meet the director and producer of the film, Graham Meriwether. One thing that really gets me jazzed is meeting people who are following their dreams and, even more, making things better for all of us. (In fact, the film’s production company is Leave It Better.)
Graham is young, humble and unassuming. And he made a great film. American Meat is a very positive, forward-thinking look at how to improve meat production in our nation. And by improve, I don’t mean more meat, faster. I mean producing better meat, healthier meat, and tastier meat, while restoring our small towns, economy and the dignity of America’s farmers. It doesn’t necessarily focus on the higher nutrient value of grass-fed and pastured meats, but instead helps to answer the question of whether or not these farming methods can feed America.
And the good news is: Yes, they can! Or rather, they could.
If more farmers used these sustainable methods, and new and younger farmers were able to join the party, American farmland could produce more than enough food. And these are big ifs explored in the movie. The movie also explores ways that we can support those who choose these methods of husbandry, such as buying clubs, farmers’ markets and CSAs. Perhaps one of the most important things consumers can do is patronize businesses who use and sell this kind of meat (such as Chipotle), while demanding it from other restaurants and markets.
In addition to profiling both conventional meat farmers and Joel Salatin, the film also tells the stories of individuals and couples who left their mainstream jobs – and lives – to tend the land using traditional means (one of whom attended the screening). It was inspiring.
I was inspired to hold the course and keep doing what I’m doing, and inspired to do more. (Just ask my husband, who had to talk me out of putting money down on a farm outside of Staunton. I tend to jump right into things.)
American Meat should be available for distribution in four or five months. I’d encourage you to view it, and more importantly, share it with your friends and neighbors. It is a very non-offensive, well-laid out apologetic for smarter, better, safer farming methods, giving us safer, yummier and healthier meat.
Believe it or not, this still wasn’t the end of my great experience this past weekend. Tomorrow I’ll share about the dinner following the film screening, and some of the great things Staunton has to offer, among them fabulous, farm-to-table restaurants. I was in heaven!
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