Local Food Film Festival 2012

Local Food Film Festival returns to the Coffs Coast

A version of this article first appeared in the Coffs Coast Advocate on Saturday, 4th August, 2012

The reality is, if we don’t relocalize our food system over the next decade, you or your children will be lining up with your ration ticket at Coles, with your government allocation of what you can get through the centralised food system. Because that food system is going down. All of that system is extremely dependent on cheap energy, and the era of cheap energy is coming to an end.”

Food Inc - one of the seminal food politics films
Food Inc – one of the seminal food politics films

These are the words of permaculture co-founder David Holmgren, speaking in prophetic tones at the start of the challenging documentary Anima Mundi, which is one of two feature films in the 2012 Coffs Coast Local Food Film Festival. Also featuring leading thinkers and writers from Australia and abroad such as John Seed, Vandana Shiva, Stephen Harding, Noam Chomsky and Michael Ruppert, Anima Mundi shines an uncompromosing lens on our current trajectory, and then focuses on the myriad community-driven initiatives that are directly raising levels of sustainability and resilience.

Informed by the principles and practices of permaculture and Gaian philosophy, Anima Mundi tells the stories of ordinary people educating themselves, and working together to create their vision of a better and more sustainable future. At the same time, it doesn’t pretend that there are any ‘easy solutions’ to the challenges we face.

Eating food that’s locally grown, sustainably farmed, buying it in a farmers’ market, eating it with your family and friends – this isn’t a fad. This is what people have been doing since the beginning of time. It’s about our humanity. It’s a civilising ritual, it gives meaning to life. Food is part of everybody’s experience. It’s the pause in the day, when it’s possible to reflect, and share.”

This is US chef Alice Walker speaking in the Festival’s second feature film, Ingredients. This documentary tells the story of the partnerships between chefs and farmers that, over the past three decades, have given rise to the burgeoning local food movement in the US, which, as we now know, has now spread rapidly across the English-speaking world. For those who want to know where the local food movement came from, what it’s become, and where it’s going, this is the film to watch.

Alongside these feature films, the Local Food Film Festival will also screen a selection of locally-made films from budding documentary makers on the Coffs Coast. Last year six outstanding entries were submitted, telling stories of food-based sustainability from around the Coffs Coast. The winner, The Bushman of Tamban, made by Fil Baker, narrated the recovery of knowledge of bush tucker and native foods in the Nambucca region. “This film has gone on to be shown at many venues, and is featuring at Adelaide’s From Plains to Plate’s Feast of Film this year”, festival coordinator Jocelyn Edge of the Nambucca Valley Local Food Network told me.

The Festival is now calling for entries into this year’s short film competition, along the theme of ‘local food creates healthy communities’. Thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Coffs Coast Growers Market, Nambucca Valley Council, Bellbottom Media and Kombu Wholefoods, a $1,000 first prize is offered for the best entry, and the top three short films will be screened at the Festival. All entries will be published online.

“Through the short film competition we are asking people to find inspiring local food stories and projects that are happening up and down the Mid North Coast, and we want to be able to bring these to a wider audience,” said Jocelyn. “We particularly encourage primary or high school students to submit entries.”