Bates to screen student-made documentaries on local food production

Bates will screen two documentaries made by Bates students about Maine food producer. The first is For the Love of Small Scale.

(Total length: 13 min. 37 sec.)

Bates will screen For the Love of Small Scale and Fowl Play, documentaries made by Bates students about Maine food producers, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29, in Room 104 of the Olin Arts Center, 75 Russell St.

The students made the films in a 2004 environmental studies course taught by filmmaker Melissa Paly, known for her 2003 documentary about sprawl, Livable Landscapes: By Chance or By Choice? Sponsored by the environmental studies program, the event is open to the public at no charge.

Reflecting the yearlong theme at Bates, Nourishing Body and Mind: Bates Contemplates Food, the films illustrate issues around food production in Maine, issues still relevant four years after the Bates course. Paly’s students created documentaries depicting the effects on local Maine farmers of factory farms and large-scale food producers and retailers.

The films will provide an opportunity for an open discussion of these important issues in food production.

Fowl Play, by Nathan Dorpalen, Samuel Haaz and A. Currier Stokes, takes an in-depth look at the injustices and low standards accepted in factory farms, specifically the former DeCoster Egg Farms, now Quality Egg of New England, in Turner. The film also gives small free-range egg producers a venue to share their philosophy. The film asks viewers to consider the effects of low food prices on working conditions for farmers and the treatment of chickens.

For the Love of Small Scale, by Bates alumni Ryan Sparks, Christina Maki, Craig Saddlemire and Joshua Stoll, looks at impacts of national retail chains on local growers. The film discusses concepts of fair trade and regional trade agreements that have affected the cause of fair trade. While the take-away message for viewers, again, is the importance of buying locally produced food, this film focuses on the nutritional value of food and the economic health of the community.

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