The film Ripe for Change is a beautiful and engaging tribute to the origins of California’s local food movement. It describes how California became a key mover and shaker in the movement for local organic food production and went on to have enormous influence on the rest of the nation. This journey is captured through vignettes via interviews of the passionate, committed people that believed in saner and healthier approach to food as a core value. Healthier for all concerned: consumers, soil and Earth.
Making a Difference Through Passion and Vision
The near hour-long film features the rock stars of California ‘s organic food and local produce movement, notably Alice Waters of Chez Panisse, and David Mas Masumoto, author of Epitaph for a Peach, as well as other lesser known key players (including Dru Rivers of Fully Belly Farm). Alice Waters became famous as the champion of cooking with fresh, local and seasonal produce that became known as California Cuisine. Her restaurant, Chez Panisse, opened in1971 in Berkeley and became the epicenter for her experimentation in sourcing supplies locally to offer the freshest ingredients possible. She even used backyard growers for some of her fresh produce in a trade for meals at the restaurant. Waters wisely urges consumers to think carefully about who and what they are supporting when they buy fast-food versus buying from a farmer’s market. She asks us to consider if we really want to support industrial agriculture that is destroying our soil, or small farmers striving to bring sustainably farmed fruits and vegetables our tables.
Risking it All For a Peach
David Mas Masumoto has used his eloquent writing style to bring visibility to the plight and struggles of the small organic farmer. It’s a touching moment to hear him tell how after the Los Angeles Times ran his story about Sun Crest peaches, he received passionate letters urging him not to destroy his trees in favor of planting commercially popular peach varieties that shipped well, had appealing color, but alas, no flavor. It was the encouragement he needed to take a huge risk and leap of faith that his flavorful peach, although not favored commercially, had a place in the world. It was with tremendous courage that he kept his Sun Crest orchard. Sun Crest peaches are now listed in Slow Food’s Ark of Taste.
Giving Thanks for Local Food Producers
After watching the film I’m grateful once again for these visionaries and their hard work, and I’m reminded that wherever we live, if we want our local producers to thrive they need our consistent support.
Ripe for a Change is a film by director Emiko Omori. You can view it for free courtesy of Snag Films here.
This post also published on Eat, Drink Better