Agriculture on the Big Screen

Agriculture on the Big Screen

Agriculture on the Big Screen

December 11, 2015

As a child, one of my favorite pastimes was sitting down on our gray sectional sofa, with a big bowl of popcorn, and watching a movie.  And, with two working parents and my oldest sister being the babysitter, it was something I did often. Being the animal lover that I was, the movies I preferred were the ones with the loveable talking animal protagonist, misunderstood among his animal friends. Perhaps my favorite movie involved a pink pig, a young girl, and a very talented spider. Charlotte’s Web was easily that movie I could quote word for word as a child, and while I still love the movie; my views about the agriculture industry are far from the same. The reality that farm animals are, more or less produced for human needs is something that I have grown to accept rather than deny.

Fast forward fifteen years and you get the collage senior whose passion for agriculture grows bigger each day. I still enjoy movies with a big bowl of popcorn; however I now watch them on an old leather couch on a much smaller television. While I still do enjoy a fictional animal flick every now and then, the movies I more regularly match my passion, and revolve around the agriculture industry. With the help of the oh so popular “Netflix”, these documentaries are readily available the agriculture industry is able to be seen in various different lights. I may have gone on a slight movie binge lately, and noticed a very common trend among these agricultural based movies and they all left me asking one very important question…What do all of these facts mean?

Let’s start with one of the oldest movies, Food Inc. This movie is a true emotional display of American agriculture in its purest form…right? Maybe partly. While this movie does have some great facts for non-conventional agricultural method of production, it takes a very one-sided approach. It is also an emotional rollercoaster! From sick kids and sad chicken farmers, to lower class families who cannot afford ‘healthy’ food….this movie has it all. However, be warned as emotions can sometimes overthrow logic and science in one drop of a tear.

This next movie was not at all what I expected it to be. Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret is easily one of the most informative environmental movies I have seen in a long time. That being said, as the movie went on I couldn’t help but question the validity of the information being presented. Normally, I watch educational movies to get educated, not give me the need to research a topic for validity. However, the premise of the movie is rather unique in regards to other Ag. movies I have watched in the past. While I feel their ‘go vegan’ call to action is a little over the top, I still found the premise of the movies entertaining, and it deals with prevalent issues the industry faces.

Of course, I save my favorite movie for last. Farmland, like Cowspiracy, is very different than other agriculture movies. Rather than target a specific facet of the industry, this movie tells the story of younger farmers and their struggles running their agricultural operations. While there are a lot of emotional parts in this movie, the overall premise of informing about agriculture practices and following a lot different ways to produce food rather than ‘side’ with one way of production is unique and greatly appreciated.  As a young agriculturalist, I found this movie very refreshing. The various story lines were interesting to follow, and actually left me emotionally connected to the young farmers, without shoving any certain point of view down my throat.

So my agriculture interested friends, next time you curl up on your couch for a bit of Netflix watching, considering indulging yourself in an informational agriculture documentary and see which one you like the best!

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