Locally grown food and local food producers and supporters are being highlighted in two new documentaries put out by the Food for Thought film project.
“Going with the Grain” and “Coastal Foods: Sowing the Seeds of Sustainability” — produced by Jennifer Bell and Jessica Eden — will premiere Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Eureka Theater, 612 F St. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the program starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10, available at FFTFilms.brownpapertickets.com, by calling 800-838-3006 or at the Eureka Theater box office at Annex-39, 610 F St. Beck’s Bakery in Arcata will provide samples of whole-grain bread made with local grain at the event and Humboldt Regeneration Brewery and Farm will be selling beer.
“You’ll be able to watch the movie, have the experience of watching the farmers and hearing the farmers talk about these grains and then be able to taste the bread,” said Bell, one of the founders of the local Master Food Preserver program. She also hosted and co-produced with Eden KHSU’s long-running Food for Thought radio segment, interviewing food producers, others in the food industry and people involved in food politics, and directed the documentary film “High Water Mark: Stories from the ’64 Flood,” which takes an in-depth look at the people and places affected by the destruction that took place locally 55 years ago.
The two new food films — as well as a third on albacore tuna, slated for release within a few months — are part of the work of Food for Thought, a DreamMaker project of the Ink People Center for the Arts.
“Going with the Grain” (50 minutes) celebrates the resurgence of the local grain movement, including wheat, rye and quinoa, Bell said. The film features local grain farmers Kevin and Melanie Cunningham, Lisa and Laurence Hindley, John LaBoyteaux and Blake Richard, she said.
“Humboldt used to grow a lot of grain, in fact Humboldt grain won awards in the state fairs,” Bell said. “Ultimately, when grain was grown in larger fields, the equipment became so large that, according to farmer John LaBoyteaux, you couldn’t even turn a modern combine around in his field. Many farmers have had to scavenge antique equipment to bring about the resurgence of grain growing in Humboldt.”
Also featured in “Going with the Grain” are Beck’s Bakery owner Rhonda Wiedenbeck, who “performs her magic to turn local grains into bodacious loaves of whole-grain bread,” Bell said; Amy and Steve Bohner, who distill spirits using fresh grains at Alchemy Distillery in Arcata; and Jacob Pressey, who “is farming some of his own grain and growing hops while producing some tasty beer at Humboldt Regeneration Brewery and Farm in McKinleyville,” Bell said.
The second film, “Coastal Foods: Sowing the Seeds of Sustainability” (40 minutes), explores Humboldt County’s coastal local food movement.
“Jude Marshall, Tee Griffin and Ed Mata from United Indian Health Services’ Potowat Health Village speak to the importance of healthy traditional and other whole foods for Indian people,” Bell said.
Also, local Community Supported Agriculture farmers Eddie Tanner (DeepSeeded Farm), Kevin and Melanie Cunningham (Shakefork Community Farm) and John Gary (Organic Matter Ranch) describe the process of joining at CSA farm and what it’s like to grow produce on the Humboldt County coast and Steven Hackett, Humboldt State University economics professor, discusses the importance of local produce for the economy, Bell said.
“Coastal Foods” also features local student Genevieve Regli and Eureka High School agriculture teacher Alissa Sarvinski talking about the importance of youth involvement in agriculture, food selection and preparation. Joining in the conversation is retired nutrition educator and former Times-Standard columnist Joyce H
“She (Houston) talks about how do you get young people to eat whole foods and how do you encourage them to grow gardens and that sort of thing,” Bell said.
Once these films premiere, Bell hopes to see them continue to flourish, being presented at myriad venues — perhaps as part of local agriculture programs and/or at area granges.
“The farmers of the community, by supporting them, we’re supporting the infrastructure of our community and that is really important to do,” Bell said.