Thursday, March 1, 2012

Sustainable Farming and the Documentary "Fresh"

I will never forget lying on the ultrasound table with my third child and finding out I would be the mother of three boys! I got tears in my eyes...partially because I had hoped for a daughter, but also because I was anticipating lots of work and a house full of energy and noise in the years to come! I often remind my husband of his first words after we 'saw' that it was a boy. He said, "it'll be okay, honey, we'll just move to a farm where they can run!" Well, we haven't moved to a farm yet...but we do have a bigger backyard now and we love to visit local farms.

I just watched the documentary "Fresh" ( which is free to watch here, on Dr. Mercola's website until March 3, 2012. The movie's website also has a search function to find a screening near you. It is a great documentary that features farmers, thinkers and business people from across America. I learned that the way industrial agriculture is farming and raising livestock is not only hurting our health by loading our food with chemical pesticides and feeding the animals we consume with grain which is laced with antibiotics. Also, the industrial system is depleting the land of it's natural resources and naturally occuring nutrients and minerals.

One thing that was very encouraging in the movie was to hear from Andrew Kimbrell, the Executive Director for Food Safety. He said that they now have the science to prove "that medium sized organic farming is far more productive than any sized industrial style agriculture". It is simply not true that organic farming is too expensive to feed the world, says Kimbrell. He says the studies and data prove that all the inputs on the modern industrial farm (machinery, pesticides, chemical fertilizers) make it "unsustainable". I loved watching the interviews of the sustainable farmers and learning how they follow traditional methods of rotating the grazing and having the chickens follow the grazing cattle and how it all works together to benefit the entire farm and produce more healthy animals and crops.

Watching this film made me think a lot about my grandparents. My mom grew up on a farm in South Alabama and her mom raised crops, chickens and pigs. I remember sitting with her snapping beans and preparing them for canning or freezing. We had a deep freezer growing up full of my Memaw's home-grown vegetables and pecans that she shelled herself. She had a big pecan tree right in her yard. I remember once when I was probably about 9 or 10, she sent me to her garden to get green onions and I had no idea what to look for! I have great memories from my Memaw's house.

My dad has been very successful at growing tomatoes, okra and peppers in his yard here in Georgia. He even planted me some tomatoes and peppers last summer. It was so much fun for me and the boys to watch them grow. After watching "Fresh" I am more determined than ever to take my kids to the Farmer's Market on Saturdays to pick out our fresh, local produce and to visit farms whenever we have a chance. There is something great about learning where your food comes from and all the work that goes into it. It also really helps us to appreciate the intricacy of what God created in the natural world!


  1. Important post and well said!

  2. You're right...there is something spiritual about watching a seed turn into a meal!