Ingredients film review and another food event

Posted on November 10, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Last weekend I attended two different food events. The first one was held by the Santa Monica farmers market called Eating the Whole Farm the second one was a screening of a documentary titled Ingredients. For the first event I had to travel to Santa Monica leaving the house at 5:15 it took me an hour and a half to get there and I drove in the dark on curvy roads not my idea of an ideal drive. As I was driving there I kept thinking to myself I hope this is worth it.

The speakers were Phil McGrath from Mcgrath farm their farm is located 10 miles from my house. The other farmer was Greg of Rocky Canyon Farm, who is more of a rancher then a farmer, but he also grows vegetables. McGrath has a farm-stand that I used to frequent on my way home from work. I buy almost all of my beef and pork from Rocky Canyon Farms. The other speaker was Ben Ford(Harrison Ford’s son) he owns a restaurant called Ford’s Filling Station. The Moderator was Evan Kleiman, Host of KCRW”s Good Food and Chef/Owner of Angeli Caffe.

Phil McGrath started talking about his CSA program. How a CSA works is you pay the farmer a certain amount of money and then you receive produce from the farm for the next 3-4 months on a weekly basis. By paying in advance Phil said that his number one customers are the CSA members. CSA’s started in Japan, farm land was dissapearing and individuals went to the farmers and asked them to continue farming and they arranged to pay them in advance for their produce so they could continue farming. One thing Phil said that I completely agree with is that Northern California is more advanced when it comes to the local food movement then Southern California. I think that McGrath Farms is one of two or three farms in the county that offer a CSA. I love the bay area and hope to move back up there someday, I was researching the different farms in the bay area and quite a few of them offer CSA’s. I also noticed that they offer CSA’s that are perfect for two people or four people. Where McGrath’s farm only offers one option and you need to have at least 4 people in your family or split it with someone else. Another thing I noticed when looking at the farms in Northern California is that they offer meat CSA’s where you get an assortment of meat every week or every other week. As far as I know there aren’t any meat CSA’s in Ventura or Los Angles county. Phil is working on putting a compost center on the farm, he plans on taking green waste from a neighboring city, Oxnard and possibly Burbank. His farm is over 200 acres and it is certified organic. He said that one of the benefits of having a organic farm is that the labor is more diverse, he has 20 employees that work year round. He said for non-organic farms they will hire 30 people for three weeks and might have a few people that work year round.

Greg grew up on a dairy farm and his wife grew up on a ranch. He went to school for agriculture. He decided to start raising pigs, he was also growing vegetables and was used chemical sprays because he didn’t know of a different way. When he had children he decided he didn’t want the chemicals to affect his children,and switched to organic. He raises his cows until they are 14 to 18 months old. He said that grain is not necessarily bad for cows but it should be fed as a treat and not as their main food source. He said that cows like diversity, that he will feed them vegetables and after he makes apple juice they get apple rinds along with melons, cantelopes, tomatoes, and eggplant. He stated that government policies push cheap food that you can purchase a burger from McDonald’s for $1, that government wants people to spend their money on TV’s, cars and other electronics. If you have seen King Corn or Food Inc. you know that corn is subsidized by the government making it very cheap to feed cows. What are the risks associated with eating that $1 burger though? That would be E.Coli. I think it was about 3 weeks ago there was another ground beef recall. When you purchase ground beef at a supermarket or a burger from a fast food chain that ground beef has meat from roughly 1,000 cows! If you do eat a burger at a restaurant, find out where they get there meat from, do they grind it themselves? If they grind it themselves then you know that the meat is from maybe a couple cows rather then a thousand.

When I first arrived at the event I was waiting for the speakers to start, I overheard these two people behind me talking about Ojai. I asked if they were going to the film festival tomorrow, they said yes. I asked what film and found out they were going to see the same film as myself, Ingredients. When I showed up to the film the next day I ran into them and found out the male was the producer of the film!

Was it worth the hour and a half drive in the dark to attend the event? Yes, I thought it was a great event, very educational. I think more farmers markets should host events like the Santa Monica Farmers Market does.

Ingredients Movie Review

I was pretty excited to see another food movie, I have seen Food Inc. which I think is one documentary every person should see. This film is about the local food movement. The film shows farms located in Oregon, New York, and Ohio. One of my favorite quotes from the movie was “Pay the Farmer, or Pay the Doctor.” I couldn’t agree more with this statement, if people are not consuming fresh, non-processed foods then it is going to take a toll on their body, and they will become ill.

Alice Waters is in the film, when she was 19 she went to France, and shopped primarily at farmers markets, when she got back to the United States she decided to source local food, and hired a forager to puchase local produce and humanely raised meat. I think that would be a really fun job shopping at farmers markets, visiting farms seeking humanely raised meat.

One thing that was mentioned in the movie is that we expect cheap food, the United States spends less on food then any other industrialized nation. Some people think this is wonderful, but look at how many people are sick in this country.  This goes back to the pay the farmer or pay the doctor comment. I think the best preventive medicine is food. I would rather pay more money for locally grown organic food, and grass-fed beef then pay for prescription pills every month. People complain about how expensive is to eat this way, and after the film a local farmer said it feels like this is the rich white people movement. When I would stop off at the McGrath farm stand in the parking lot there would be a BMW, a Mercedes, a Lexus and I would think to myself is it only rich people that can afford this lifestyle? I do struggle to eat this way especially now that I lost my job. It’s about doing the best that you can with the money you have. I have not been eating as much meat, but have started making soup from scratch once a week and will eat that 3 times a week. When I do eat beef it’s mostly ground meat from grass-fed cows.

I thought the film was pretty good, I do prefer Food Inc. though since that film covered more topics then this film. The film shows how the local food movement is really growing, how farmers markets are expanding.  How farmers and chefs work together. I saw the film with a friend who I dragged along, I also took him to see Food, Inc when that came out. He said that he preferred Ingredients because it had a positive message and made him want to eat healthier. I do think this film is less intimidating then Food, Inc. For those who are slightly interested in eating better or the local food movement, I think this would be a really good film for them to see.  There may have been one scence in the film where they showed a CAFO, but other then that they do not show how animals are raised like Food Inc. did. The film’s website is: http://www.ingredientsfilm.com

This post is part of Real Food Wednesday hosted by Kelly the Kitchen Kop.

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This post was mentioned on Twitter by 805foodie: RT Camarillo farmer Phil McGrath featured @Sweettuth Ingredients film review and another food event: http://wp.me/pFQE6-V


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