Polycultures: Food Where We Live, was the one film through the entire Cleveland International Film Festival that I was most looking forward to. And perhaps because I walked in with so much excitement was the reason I walked out wanting more. It's certainly a good movie, but compared to the level I had dreamed about, I found it to be an average production.
Local Foods is one of my favorite subjects, so it's quite convenient (some might say coincidental) that Cleveland is one of the national leaders in this movement. Between our fantastic networks like E4S and Local Food Cleveland, or our dozens of farmers markets, innovative approaches like City Fresh, Fresh Fork Market, and Local Crop, we have plenty going for us. Not to mention being the only major city in the country with farming zoning, the fact that we're turning lots left and right to farms, and we have a great restaurant community led by innovators such as Great Lakes Brewing Company and the new Greenhouse Tavern.
What does this all mean? Healthier communities physically. Healthier communities communitally (not a word, but funny). Healthier communities environmentally. Healthier communities economically. It means we can become a region that feeds ourselves almost completely by ourselves - our money stays here to enrich our communities through healthier and more sustainable food. It means we take the roughly 15,000 abandoned lots in Cleveland and begin supplying our own food and putting our people to work. It means a smarter, more connected population. These are the dreams and the vision that many of us share in Cleveland.
But where was the narrative in the film? Set to a series of seven 'plots,' this seemed to just scratch the surface rather than offer the transformational approach to the subject I had thought about. The themes covered often seemed to overlap, weren't defined, and lacked the context to really bring the message home. It was something I was hoping that could push us over the top as a region and through the 'desert' as referred to in the film between small scale & large scale. It wasn't. An incredible topic for an incredible city, but the film was just fine.
Episode 61: December 30 2009
7 years ago