Food on Film



It seems like a simple question: Where does your food come from? According to Lauren Moffatt, coordinator of MCLA's Berkshire Environmental Resource Center, "When you ask people, the usual answer is, 'The grocery store.'"

From March 10 to 14, the Farm Film Feast will shed some light on who produces our food, how it gets to us, and how it affects our health, our environment and our communities. The idea for the five days of films, food and discussion originated with Storey Publishing of North Adams, MA. In addition to film screenings at Images Cinema in Williamstown, events will be held at MCLA and Williams College. Students at both colleges will be admitted free to the films.

"The Farm Film Feast and MCLA's campus garden are centered on getting rid of that (grocery store) response. We want people to know where their food comes from, how it's produced, and the pros and cons of the sources," Moffatt explains.

According to Moffatt, MCLA's Green Team and the Berkshire Environmental Resources Center have been advocating local, sustainable agriculture for some time, using MCLA's campus garden as a model.

"People eat imported produce that comes from Latin America and other countries. There's the environmental impact if we use pesticides on it. Is it organic? Are the workers that grow it being treated fairly and being fairly paid?" she asks. "Beyond that, there's the environmental impact of transporting the produce to us. It might be 3,000 miles away. It might have to be trucked. It might have to be flown. There's a huge carbon footprint involved. There are a lot of environmental and socio-economic issues that surround where our food comes from."

By working in MCLA's campus garden, students think about these issues while they learn how to grow their own food. In addition to the students, local elementary schools and members of the community have become involved with the garden.

And, by attending the Farm Film Feast, "Students will have the opportunity to get a lot of exposure to these independent films," says Moffatt. "They also may get to interact with some community people and local farmers, as well as with students from the other college and see what's going on there."

In addition, King Corn and Big River director Aaron Woolf not only will attend the Wednesday, March 10, screenings of those films at Williams and participate in a Q and A session at the event's conclusion, he also will speak to environmental studies students and others at MCLA on Thursday, March 11, from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. in Murdock Hall room 218.

Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, the young stars of King Corn and Big River, also will accompany Woolf to MCLA for the March 11 event, which is free and open to the public. 

For more information, including a detailed list of films and events, go to or contact . All films are $5 unless otherwise indicated. A $35/all-movie pass also is available. MCLA and Williams College students attend free with their student ID. A portion of the proceeds will go to support the REACH Community Garden Project in North Adams, MA.