Plant This Movie

an urban farmer in ghana

Photograph by Karney Hatch

I love the title of this documentary currently in the works. Plant This Movie looks like it will concentrate on urban farming around the globe as a way to study its use and effectiveness. I think I will add it to my list of movies to see in the future. I hope it gets finished soon! Here are bits and pieces of an interview with director, Karney Hatch I found on Grist.

“We feel like we’ve reinvented the wheel, but urban farming has been going on as long as cities have existed,” says Karney Hatch, a filmmaker who spent five months traveling the globe to gather material for a documentary about urban farming beyond our borders.

Q. How does farming for survival change the nature of the practice?

A. It’s more productive and it seems to lead to much stronger communities. Because if you’re growing food to survive, you have a strong motivation to grow really well. You ask the people around you what their secrets are. You all work toward this common cause. When your caloric intake doesn’t depend on it, the stakes are not as high; you’re not forced by necessity to work together.
Q. What can we in the U.S. learn from other countries about how to raise food in cities well?

A. To [build] a mature urban agriculture system in the U.S., you would end up pulling from a lot of different examples. Cuba is kind of the famous one. One of the things I’m getting excited about is animals in the city. Especially fish — there’s a lot of aquaponics getting started. In 1996 I was in China and I saw [people] harvesting freshwater eels out of the rice paddies. It’s something we would [almost] never do in the U.S., because we’re like, “I’m a fish farmer, [you’re] a rice farmer, we do not mix.” In China it’s just natural.

There are some cities in Africa where somebody has a plantain tree, and [somebody else has] pineapple, and corn, and there’s a herd of goats going down the street; it’s all kind of integrated together. We’re a long ways from that, but once you’ve seen it, it’s not that hard to imagine having that sort of integrated system in some of our cities in the U.S.

Can’t wait to see it and learn a thing or two.

To read the full interview, click here. And to read more about the project, click here.

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