Monday, July 13, 2009

See "Food Inc." for free and a great profile of an urban farmer

Will Allen, the ultimate urban farmer and a truly larger than life figure, was profiled in last week's New York Times Magazine. It's a great read and indirectly poses an important question: Can the good food movement be sustained without some sort of subsidy, whether it be in the form of private grant or government pay?

Michael Pollan, when I saw him speak at the Herbst Theater (click here for video), argued that no food system has ever been successful without some sort of subsidy. That's why some have argued it's important that we redirect our government emphasis on commodity crops like corn and wheat and soybeans and reward more complex systems that grow a variety of plants, such as vegetables.

My grandmother told me that she would love if it were economically viable to grow something else besides GMO corn*. Is there any reason the Farm Bill won't pay Will Allen a dime and would discontinue paying my grandparents if they planted a row of broccoli next to the corn?

*Whether it is realistic for octogenarians in South Central Kansas to switch to organic farming at this point is a question better left for another day.

Free Screening of 'Food, Inc.'


Still haven't seen Food, Inc.? Your procrastination is paying off, for once. Catch a free screening of the startling film -- sponsored nationwide by the burrito chain Chipotle -- on Thursday, July 16, at Embarcadero Center Cinema (One Embarcadero Center) at 7:30 p.m. Get there super early to guarantee yourself a seat; you know how people can be when it comes to free things.

More info on Chipotle's screenings is here, and to get in the spirit before you go to the theater, read SFoodie Editor John Birdsall's conversation with Food, Inc. director Robert Kenner.

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