'Local' Filmmaker Spotlights Farms

Christian Remde looks at local farms and restos

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of meeting Christian Remde and writing a feature on his ambitious undertaking, The Twelve Films Project. The penultimate film, Local, is out now.

The 33-minute documentary, filmed on location at area farms and restaurants, contends with the shifting definition of "organic" and showcases the stands that farmers like Glen Foore (Springdale Farms) and Jim Richardson (Richardson Farms) take in the face of the increasing corporatization and genetic modification of agriculture.

While the farmers' testimonies are powerful, the real stars of the show are the fruits, vegetables, and animals that constitute dinner for those of us who care about local, sustainable, clean agriculture. To that end, Remde includes chefs who have committed to a farm-to-table ethos for their restaurants, notably Paul Hargrove of Trace at the W and Sonya Cote of East Side Showroom. (Those familiar with Remde's oeuvre will recognize this line of inquiry as an extension of his May documentary Farm to Trailer, which focused on Bryce Gilmore's soon-to-shutter Odd Duck trailer.)

In my other life, I teach a rhet/comp class at UT called The Rhetoric of Eating, which focuses on the different stories we tell about ourselves and our values through the way that we talk about eating and the choices we make about the food that we eat. I showed Local to my students on the last day of classes this semester and it was a breath of fresh air, a burst of inspiration and hope in the face of a feeling that we are trapped in a food system that effectively enslaves and poisons us in its drive for profits at any cost. Local is an example of the kinds of stories we should all aim to tell when it comes to talking about our food.

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Local, Christian Remde, Paul Hargrove, Trace at the W, Sonya Cote, East Side Showroom, Springdale Farms, Richardson Farms

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