Farmageddon Review and Trailer

Kristin Canty‘s “Farmageddon” is the latest in a recent trend of eco-crusading documentaries, and holds its own amongst them.

Essentially, the focus of this film is to show how the USDA is brutally cracking down on many small farms for relatively petty behaviors such as producing raw milk. Raw milk, according to the film, is far more nutritious than pasteurized milk to the extent where its consumption in place of the latter could actually help stem asthma and allergies. This behavior from the government is helping to keep organic and local foods more expensive, and preventing it from growing as quickly as its momentum seems to want it to.

We see several accounts from various small or large independent farms and coops around the country, and their experiences in simply trying to exist. Many of them have experienced repeated raids from federal or state law enforcement officers – one of them, indeed, experienced the farm’s entire livestock taken away to be killed due to a supposed disease and after years of court struggles, received an admittance from the USDA that they knew the disease never existed.  As a way of explaining this, an ex-USDA man interviewed says that there is a type of inertia for policy, and it cannot apply to everyone.  Since the policy was meant to curb or regulate large companies, the small ones that it also applies to cannot easily have exceptions.

The film (as the title might imply) thus paints a very ominous and disturbing picture of the future of small, communal farming and co-ops. However, the film never presents itself as apocalyptic as it might seem, and there are never any specific times where it says that the world is going to hell. Rather, it seems to be meant to be a whistle-blowing piece meant to inform the people of what the government is supporting.

In the end, it makes me somewhat more hopeful for the future of small, local, organic communal farming. The very fact that it exists alongside many other eco-documentaries, such as Taggart Siegel’s films, implicates that there is a definite movement which is, itself, gaining inertia.

There are a few things about this film that left me scratching my head. The film puts a lot of focus on raw milk being better than pasteurized milk… but does not discuss much about the actual health benefits.  Everyone questioned except one government employee seem to agree that it’s better, but there isn’t much discussion into why or how.  Perhaps it expects the people who watch it to already be convinced, but for people like me, to whom the very notion of drinking raw milk seems new and strange – we need a little more than about 12 people saying it’s great.  Some facts would help.

I was left wondering if pasteurization isn’t the problem, but the cows which are pasteurized.  That is to say, most of the cows who are pasteurized are also from industrial farms, and essentially all of the raw milk comes from independent farms with healthy, grass fed cows devoid of GMOs or chemical-smothered feed. Therefore, I was left wondering if it wasn’t the lack of pasteurization which made it better, but the fact that the raw milk comes from healthier cows?

However, the film makes an extremely compelling point about the USDA’s actual resistance to independent farming, and how it is actually harder to grow things in a healthy and sustainable way than to grow things with chemicals and GMOs. The film closes, more or less, with Ron Paul saying that people should get angry about this and write to their congressmen, because they will only act once they feel that their jobs are in jeopardy.  It’s true.  Until the people do, nothing will change.

See this movie. It is important.


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