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02/17/2011: "What we eat, where it comes from, issues, conversations, screenings"

Genetically Modified Organisms
We made the documentary Eating Alaska to provoke viewers to think about what it means to eat, to question where our food comes and to think among other things about safety, ethics and sustainability. While we crammed in everything from farmed fish and toxic chemicals, along with food colonization and the ambivalence of a sometime vegetarian, we didn't directly address GMOs in the film. Yet, the issue is not only relevant, it keeps bubbling up and slipping onto our plates.

The latest news on GMOs is that the United States is going to allow farmers to plant genetically altered alfalfa. This is without any of the restrictions that are crucial to protect organic and conventional farm fields from contamination. According to a press release, "Alfalfa is the fourth-largest U.S. field crop grown, worth roughly $8 billion to $10 billion and grown on about 20 million acres as food for dairy cattle and other livestock'" READ MORE,

We're going to have be more careful about what we eat. But can we? What does this mean for neighboring organic farms? How can they not be contaminated? Once contaminated they can no longer be certified as organic.

As posted in Just Means
"Our local food community wonders if the USDA may start bending some rules to accommodate the plight of the organic farmer because contamination is inevitable in the long run. Even if organic farmers are able to change the fodder as one feed after another becomes contaminated in the biotech hustle, what will happen when all fodder is contaminated to the point of certified organic food being an impossible goal?"

Meanwhile, US Senators from Alaska, have introduced legislation last month seeking to ban Aquabounty's so-called Frankenfish. A great step, writes Nicolaas Mink in an editorial in the Juneau Empire. U.S. Sens. Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski have "put the interests of Alaskan citizens over corporate plutocrats and near-sighted regulators. We should applaud the senators for their intervention on behalf of our state's most important economic, cultural, and natural resource."

But things are messy, the biotech industry, as the alfalfa ruling reflects, has power. What can we do? Mink words his suggestion eloquently:
"... what we can do is become better informed food consumers. The Frankenfish controversy should make all Alaskans[and others], regardless of political beliefs or party affiliations, take a step back and see the bigger picture. Every time we purchase a soft drink sweetened with corn syrup or a pork roast fattened on soy, we are, in effect, supporting the system that has birthed the same genetically-engineered salmon that threatens the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of Alaskans. Seen in this light, drawing a line in the sand at genetically-modified salmon is akin to standing nose-deep in Cook Inlet and not wanting to get your hair wet."


From a campus blog:
"On March 10, the film Eating Alaska comes to the Kiva silver screen.
The award-winning piece asks the question, (do not worry, it also answers the question) What happens when a vegetarian moves to the Great Frontier and marries a commercial fisherman, who is also a deer hunter. Food fight? You will have to join us at 5 p.m. on the 10th. Wonder if they will be serving grizzly-kabobs during the intermission?"

4th Annual Environmental Film Festival
Presented by The Rocky Mountain Sustainable Living Association, JAX Outdoor World and the Colorado State University Student Sustainability Center.
Fort Collins, Colorado
March 5, 2011
11 am

ThinK Film and Speaker Series
Hosted by the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences
Arizona State University
March 10, 2011
5 p.m.

Slow Food in the Tetons
Thursday, March 17
Victor, Idaho

Monday, April 18th
Knox College
Round Room, Ford Center for Fine Arts
7 PM
Film Showing and Discussion with Filmmaker
sponsored by the environmental club and garden club.

Tuesday, April 19th
Augustana College
Olin Auditorium
Film Showing and Discussion with Filmmaker

Wednesday, April 20
Grinnell College
Joe Rosenfield Center
Film Showing the Panel Discussion

Wenatchee Valley Environmental Film Series
Tuesday, April 19 7pm
Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center
Wenatchee, WA
Following the screening, retired University of Alaska professor Mark Oswood will speak briefly and answer questions. Oswood is president of the NCW Audubon Society, which sponsors the film. Samples of several Alaskan foods will be available including smoked salmon, fish pate and reindeer sausages.

The Eating, Reading, and Living Well Series
presented by the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library
sponsored by Mississippi Market.
The series features local authors writing about local foods and more!
Monday, May 9 at 7:00 pm
St. Paul, MN
Highland Park Library, Hillcrest Rec. Center Auditorium

Friday April 22, 2011 at 10 PM

Sunday, May-29-11 at 8 pm
WYFI Indianapolis

Thursday, March 10 at 7:00 PM
KAKM, Anchorage, AK
With March pledge drive break interviews with Roger Swain,
former host of The Victory Garden on PBS

Tuesday, March 15, 2011 at 10 PM
KCET HD, Los Angeles

Following broadcasts in late December and January in Arizona, Ohio, Alabama, Florida, Arkansas, Michigan and many other stations!

See a great short on Alex Davis, the organic farmer, in Eating Alaska
He's added hogs and ducks and continues to try to grow the best local fresh vegetables he can and involve his family in the process.
Click here

Ellen Frankenstein, on 02.17.11 @ 11:19AKT