A Corn-y congregation of compatriates

Film maker Ian Cheney slides down one of the many mountains of corn American Farmers produce each year.

Slow Food Santa Cruz had a showing of King Corn across from the Westside New Leaf on Thursday, 8/10/10.  It had a great old school tape reel feeling to it, but the relevance was to the minute as ever.  One of the biggest foci of the film is the consequence of industrial agriculture and its cousin, factory farming, both in humanitarian terms and economical terms.  The NY Times just released an article on Ohio’s signing of an agreement to phase out factory farming of hogs, hens and veal calves.  Ohio is the second largest producer of battery eggs in the U.S.

You can view the article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/12/us/12farm.html?_r=1&sudsredirect=true

Foodies munch on dinner while waiting for the film to begin

California has been the spearhead in these movements towards more humane farming practices, so it only felt right that there should be a group of more than 30 people picnicking on an empty storefront floor on the Westside of Santa Cruz, watching King Corn. Awareness – and raising it in grassroots, creative ways – has been one of the hallmarks of this area.  Many people had seen it already but wanted to be reminded of why we make the choices we do.  Afterward, the room was filled with speckles of conversation ranging from “ew, gross” to “what else can we do?” and it was easy to see that the catalyst of King Corn had worked quite well.

The film is interesting for many reasons.  The factual information is priceless, as is the wonderful ability of documentary film to be able to so seamlessly put together all the pieces of a numbingly complex issue (industrial agriculture.)  Another great thing about King Corn is that just when you might be ready to write the two filmmakers, Ian and Curt off as two privileged white guys making a self serving movie, they use just the right amount of reflexive documentation to make you aware that you (viewer), too, need to look inward to understand your part in the process.  That takes skill.

One of the paradoxes of living in Santa Cruz, one of the organic agricultural capitols of coastal California is that while there is a heightened awareness of the farm to table connection, there can also be complacency and a false sense that slow food, agriculturally safe food, is the norm here – and everywhere.  It’s not.  Far from it.  What good things are happening here, however, are truly inspiring, and it keeps getting bigger.  Just look at the Westside Farmer’s Market!  But the conversation, the fire behind activist choices and actions, needs to be stoked constantly.  Let’s keep it up!

Slow Food Santa Cruz will be having more showings like this one, so come on down and join the food, fun and facts.  Please let us know what you have a hankering to see and discuss by emailing info@slowfoodsantacruz.com.  There will be an option to hold an open forum talk about the films (speakers, radio docs, etc.) afterward.

Nearly screening time!

If you missed the movie, here is the website:


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