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Films examine food at its roots

Urban farmers in the spotlight. Photos courtesy of WCFF/CoDevelopment Canada.

Independent filmmakers highlight how food farming in small-scale urban and rural ventures benefit our local and international communities.

The World Community Film Festival plays out on the big screen this weekend at Langara College from Friday evening, Feb. 10, through Sunday, Feb. 12. With more than 35 films in the line-up, the largest of its kind in the province, the festival highlights a variety of topics on pressing social issues.

“[It's] a wonderful opportunity to see an amazing program of social justice and environmental documentaries,” Erin Mullan, film festival co-ordinator for CoDevelopment Canada, said in an email. “Film has the power to move us emotionally and to move us to act... We hope the inspirational stories told by these films will spark our audience to work towards change in their own communities.”


Saturday's program (in theatre two) features several documentaries focused on food, especially how it is grown and affects people for the better both body and soul.


Urban Roots

 Urban Roots is feature-length documentary on the urban farming revolution taking place in Detroit. It's a fascinating look at people acting meaningfully in the world without waiting on large-scale co-operation from governments. The film demonstrates how a community can become empowered through small-scale farming and thereby have some control over its food system. The film is uplifting in in its portrayal of how citizens are creating an eco-village in the post-industrial landscape, with shoutouts to other cities around the globe doing the same, including Vancouver.


Permaculture: The Growing Edge


Permaculture is a mid-length film about what permaculture means by sustainable human culture and agriculture through small-scale diverse systems. It features interviews with leading proponents of the philosophy, including the original Australian founders, academics, publishers, architects and others, who explain how it works in everyday practice.


With visits to places such as Oregon and California to see rain water recycling and community gardening, it illustrates how the principles can be applied anywhere, even in urban settings. The segment by the mushroom expert is particularly enlightening showing how oyster mushrooms can do more than grace a dinner plate.


Saving the Seed: The Struggle for Food Sovereignty in Honduras


It's a succinct film about poor farmers saving seeds to improve the diversity and health of their crops as well as their local communities. Saving the Seed is a good example of how anyone can conduct participatory research and its benefits for all.



Mullan said the festival was started by a group of activists who wanted to educate and inspire audiences through the medium of documentary film. A theme that is evident throughout the programming with both local and international examples.


Friday night's opening gala hosts speaker Richard Heinberg, an author and educator on sustainability and the post-growth economy, followed by the Vancouver premiere of Just Do It, a film on climate activism in the UK.

Tickets are $15 for Friday or Saturday evening, $20 for Saturday or Sunday, $35 for a whole festival pass. Buy on site or online.


Afterwards, WCFF travels around B.C. throughout the year, to places like Grand Forks, Kelowna, Prince George, and across Canada.

CoDevelopment Canada is a non-governmental organization based in B.C. that works for social change and global education in the Americas.

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