VIFF documentary Evolution of Organic chronicles an agricultural revolution

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      Hey foodie, that baby lettuce sitting there on your plate was quite the leafy little agitator back in the day. As we learn in Mark Kitchell’s calorie-rich documentary Evolution of Organic, it was the “spring mix” that triggered the explosive growth of the organic-food movement from a hippiecentric and largely Californian revolt against big agriculture (considered “a communist conspiracy” in some quarters) into “a multibillion-dollar industry and the fastest-growing sector of the food business”.

      As stated by Sibella Kraus, a forager at one time for Berkeley’s pioneering Chez Panisse restaurant: “The emergence of the foodie revolution started with organics.”

      Joining Kraus among the film’s numerous (and tremendously engaging) talking heads is Salt Spring Island’s Michael Ableman, whose Vancouver-based Sole Food Street Farms (founded with Seann Dory) provides not only training and employment to DTES residents, but also a lot of the vegetables served by local clients like Savio Volpe.

      Ableman was there at the dawn of organic farming, which the film traces way back to anthroposophist Rudolf Steiner’s theory of biodynamics, and then projects into the future with potentially revolutionary new (or ancient, depending on your perspective) technologies like permaculture and carbon farming. Paul Muller of California’s Full Belly Farm aspires to “an agriculture that also regenerates the human spirit”. Thanks to Ableman’s work, you can find that very thing happening right in Strathcona.

      Evolution of Organic screens at SFU on September 30 and October 1.