Mom Makes Movie to Defend Rights to Healthy Food
by Kimberly Hartke
Nutrition educators and activists belonging to the Weston Price Foundation are a significant influence in the Great American Diet Debate. Volunteer leaders have established over 300 chapters in the U.S. These chapter leaders do some heavy lifting, providing a free list of healthy food sources, grassroots organizing, holding conferences, and manning booths at health expos.
Volunteer leaders like Kristin Canty of Massachusetts are promoting some pretty contrarian ideas; animal fat and cholesterol are good for you, raw milk is healthier than processed milk, whole milk is better than skim, whole grains (unless soaked or sprouted) are unhealthy to consume, and modern soy-laden foods are hazardous to your health.
Perhaps the most controversial, Foundation members eschew processed foods in favor of home cooking, canning and preserving. And, they prefer food from traditional, mixed use farms rather than industrial scale factory farms. These activists equate ‘going green’ with your food choices with superior health and vitality–a compelling message for an increasingly sick and weak nation.
One Ordinary Mom Becomes an Extraordinary Filmmaker
A Concord, Massachusetts volunteer chapter leader, Kristin Canty is perhaps taking on the greatest challenge of all, by attempting to change the game for this contrarian view. As the number of adherents to Weston A. Price dietary guidelines have increased, so has the hassle factor for the small farms attempting to meet the demand for more wholesome, humanely produced foods.
Kristin hosted an event in her home to raise money for the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund. She was horrified when she heard the stories of raids and seizures and family farms on the brink of destruction at the hands of government. She became outraged as she made posters for her event with photos of each family farm in crisis. The gravity of their plight hit her hard, she knew she needed to do something.
“Without Food Freedom…We are Not Free”
–Kristin Canty, Filmmaker
She was disturbed by the stories. Her own son had overcome chronic allergies with a diet of the very foods these farmers produced–raw milk, local honey, grassfed meats. Once she knew the details of these raids against the good farmers that families like hers depended on, she couldn’t let it go.
Kristin tried to get media coverage and didn’t succeed. She bought flip cameras and sent them to farmers, but that didn’t work well. At that point, with her family’s support, she decided to make a film. She found an experienced crew to help her and set off across the country.
“I forced myself to take it on even though I was terrified,” explains Kristin.
During the filming, Kristin was deeply affected by the magnitude of their personal tragedies and the injustices the farmers had suffered. “Their stories were so moving. I wept after returning from many of these visits with these wonderful American families.”
Kristin’s first long venture was all the way across the country to meet Mark McAfee, owner of the largest raw dairy farm in the nation. Organic Pastures has 50,000 customers and a 500 acre farm. It is the only commercially successful 100% grassfed farm in California.
Mark’s products are sold in retail stores, in a state where raw dairy is perfectly legal. Mark had just lived through an FDA sting operation. After buying raw milk by mail order, FDA agents approached his employees at home and asked them to wear a wire into work to try to entrap their employer. Both employees were frightened but out of regard for Mark and the families who depend on him, refused to cooperate.
Movie Sheds Light on Traumatic Impact of Over-the-Top Enforcement
One story the movie tells is the Manna Storehouse raid in La Grange Ohio. On the Monday after Thanksgiving Jackie Stowers and her 5 kids, and her daughter in-law Katie and her 4 kids, were home alone. Jackie’s husband was away, Katie’s husband off fighting in Iraq. The women and children were raided at gunpoint and detained for 6 hours. Ohio agricultural agents and the SWAT team seized computers, their entire meat supply, their TV, cell phones. The family was forbidden to move out of an upstairs bedroom, even to feed their animals. The armed men wouldn’t let them answer the phone, even when their soldier called from Iraq.
Among the other stories told in the film are:
Linda Faillace, whose entire flock of imported sheep were taken by the USDA and destroyed, much to the shock and dismay of her children. And, there was no proof that they were sick with any disease.
Meadowsweet Dairy LLC, a NY farm which has been battling the bureaucracy in and out of court for years. Ag and Markets told them their operation was too filthy to produce milk for human consumption. Yet, on her visit, Kristin found it to be exceptionally clean.
Mark Nolt, an PA Mennonite farmer raided 3 times, who was subject to seizure of his priceless antique cheesemaking equipment and tens of thousands of dollars of products.
Visit Farmageddonmovie.com to see the movie trailer and for a list of screenings.
See today’s press release by the Weston A. Price Foundation about the June 17-23, 2011 World Premiere to be held in Washington, DC.
Added June 16: Here is a blog about all the different Meet the Filmmaker Events different groups are hosting in D.C. this week. Please join us for one of them, your chance to meet the amazing mom behind this movie.
Kimberly Hartke is the publicist for the Weston A. Price Foundation.
This post is part of the Fight Back Blog Carnival on Food Renegade blog, where you can explore more food politics and healthy food!