My heart goes out to Michigan. A state that has, over time, contributed in so many major ways to enhancing the American Dream, is in a state of financial disarray that's hard to appreciate here in New York City on a glorious spring day. We were in Detroit recently and saw first-hand how the downtown, except on the night of a Final Four game, would be desolate; how the housing stock is deteriorating - and will probably get worse.
And then there's rural Michigan to consider. The plight of the local farmers is frightful. Rather than describe the problem, I'd like to bring your attention to a most wonderful film that I hope you'll get to see, ASPARAGUS! Stalking the American Life, by Anne de Mare and Kirsen Kelly.
Sweet as a new vegetable shoot, gentle as the spring sunshine, funny as a loving family Sunday supper (if that's not entirely fiction - and if it is, then let's just celebrate the possible), and yet piercing as a Samuri sword, ASPARAGUS! might just change the way independent American farmers are viewed by their fellow Americans.
If you live in Michigan tune in tonight for the state-wide Michigan Broadcast Premiere. Tonight, Wednesday, April 29, 2009, at 8:00 pm. Never before have all seven Michigan Public Television stations done a simultaneous broadcast. So hustle up some Michigan Roll-Ups or Asparagus Guacamole and tune into WGVU-TV Grand Rapids; WFUM-TV Flint; WDCQ-TV Saginaw; WNMU-TV Marquette; WKAR-TV East Lansing; WTVS -TV Detroit; WCMU-TV Mt. Pleasant at 8:00 pm.
We, at Womens Voices For Change take every opportunity to support mature women artists, so I had the opportunity to hear Anne present the film last week at The Food For Thought Film Festival at Columbia University Medical Center. She is the gentle, sweet and funny person you'd expect to meet, after seeing the film. She said, "There is a growing bubble of awareness about the complexity of farm politics, and a true yearning to be more connected to the food we eat. It is exhilarating to be part of that movement. Our film tells the story of one small American community's struggle, and I am constantly amazed at how deeply people from all walks of life respond to the issues it brings up. I think part of that is because food can and should be such a joyous part of our lives, we all know this instinctively, yet in many ways, we lost much of our food culture when we industrialized so much of our food supply. Sometimes when people look at the mountain of changes that now need to be made - from food safety to nutrition and the obesity epidemic, from globalization to the politics of greed and the behemoths of agribusiness - it is easy to be discouraged. Access to healthy, local, sustainable agricultural products for everyone might seem like a pipe dream, but I try to remind people of how far we have come. Growing up I had never heard of a farmer's market or CSA, but now more and more of us have the opportunity to get much of our food directly from the source. So take up your knives and forks - there is a delicious revolution happening!"
There will be an additional broadcast on WGVU-TV on Monday, May 18th @ 9:00 pm, and we expect more broadcast dates in June!
IRONWEED FILM CLUB RELEASE has chosen ASPARAGUS! Stalking the American Life as the May selection by the Ironweed Film Club, which issues a DVD of important social issue documentaries each month. They are a fantastic organization, so check them out at www.ironweedfilms.com.
And if you want your own copy, you'll find the DVD with Bonus Features here.