food films

Eating Alabama

Eating AlabamaEating Alabama” is a poignant, inspiring tale of a young couple’s quest to eat nothing but food grown in their home state.

Told mostly through slides taken by the narrator’s grandfather, the history of Alabama’s farming unfolded. Faded by time, photos showcased a bucolic past, portraying a period in history in which agriculture spotted the landscape more than housing developments.

This image of the past was held as an idealistic dream in the minds of the young people striving to live as locally as possible. As they journeyed through their year, the realities of farm living unfolded, and the understanding of the hard work that living off the land requires soon became clear.

The journey may have been idealistic, but it was fun, too. At one point, the narrator likens growing a vegetable garden to punk rock – a rather fitting description for those of us striving to survive outside of the establishment. The glory or boredom, depending on the time of the year, of eating in season brought a smile to my face, and I shared their feeling of success as their garden grew.

There was sadness, too, as the filmmakers interviewed farmers, people who had dedicated their lives to the land, only to watch their livelihoods shift and disappear.

“Everything changes,” one farmer said with a resigned sadness.

That resonated, as I’ve heard my grandparents say it too, in the exact same tone of voice, as their eyes roved over their fields and livestock that were slowly disappearing due to “progress.”

“Eating Alabama” is a story of growth and education. It’s a tale of loss, of striving for a better tomorrow, and of acceptance. It’s a story perfect for anyone who is a farmer, loves a farmer, knows a farmer, or even just wants to eat locally. It’s a story worth seeing.

“Eating Alabama” screens in the BriarPatch Community Room on Friday, August 23, at 7:00 p.m. It’s free to the public, but come early, as seating is limited.


Discover Local 2013

First Rain Farm TourBriarPatch Co-op is poised for a series of events this August to celebrate Nevada County’s local farmers and producers.

BriarPatch defines local food as anything produced within a 20 mile radius and regional as within a 120 mile radius. In the store, shoppers can find over 700 products from 100 local and regional farmers and ranchers. During Discover Local as well as throughout the year, BriarPatch helps shoppers identify local food with signs that highlight local and regional products.

In order to showcase local and regional food, a tasting party featuring local produce, bread, wines, and more will be offered on August 25. A $5 entry fee gives access to wineries including Smith, Coufos, and regional options including Chacewater and HoneyRun meads. Foods include Redwood Hill chevre with Blue Diamond crackers, Sierra Nevada Graziers cheese with bread from The Baker and the Cake Maker, BriarPatch deli dishes featuring tomatoes from Greg’s Organics, bulb fennel from Sweet Roots Farm, and melons from Filaki and Mooney Flat Farms.

Learn how produce and animals in Nevada County flourish during a trip to First Rain Farm on Sunday, August 11. Tim Van Wagner will show attendees around his 37-acre, certified organic Nevada City farm.

Finally, on Friday, August 23, watch a couple set out to eat the way their grandparents did – seasonally and locally – in the film, “Eating Alabama.” While the film is set in the South, it’s all about the local food movement. The pair soon realized that everything about the food system has changed since their families left the farm. What follows is an introspective and often funny meditation on community and sustainability that can be as easily applied to Nevada County as it can to their Alabama home.

With BriarPatch leading the way, it should be simple to Discover Local this August.