“Eating 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.