In the documentary, Fresh, many farmers, ecologists, environmentalists, and organic food advocates, explain and argue with why industrialized and process foods, should be reduced. They also urge the more abundant growing, herding, and consumption of local livestock, as well as the structure behind how that livestock is tended too. Throughout the documentary, many of these farmers and advocates, like Joel Salatin and Russ Kremer, inform us on how locally produced foods are better and healthier than the industrialized foods we are all used to consuming.
In the beginning of the documentary, the term “monoculture” is introduced, which is an area of one species of an animal or one plant. A farmer in the documentary stated that nature fights against monocultures because they produce diseases such as E. coli, which infects the cattle, or chicken or what have you; eventually, once humans consume the meat, they are eating contaminated meats, which are lethal. With the spread of disease as just one fear, Michael Pollen stated, “Industrialization process is unsustainable,” meaning that eventually, the manufacturing of large amounts of produce and meat, at such a high volume will only bring a downfall to the system itself. Another theme in the documentary is the respect farmers have for nature itself.
A reoccurring theme throughout the documentary is that nature should be respected, mostly because of its system. Joel Salatin, a localized farmer, mentions that livestock should not be herded by the thousands into stables and feeding lot, but rather that they should be placed on a farm, where nature can take its course. When discussing this method, Salatin said, “they (livestock) fertilize the plants while the plants feed the cows.” This cycle of how the livestock fertilizes the soil and in turn the soil produces plants that feed the livestock is a never-ending food supply that does not require methods of the factory farms. Likewise, in supporting the issue that livestock should be farm-raised, Russ Kremer mentions that we should respect the animals. Industrialized producers do not respect the animal, and thus the animal can be contaminated with diseases or fed improper feed, which only makes the bigger, not healthier. In describing the philosophy of the industrialization process, Kremer says that the method of “Faster, bigger, cheaper” is not how the treatment and care of livestock should be handled. Furthermore, the livestock should be respected, according to these farmers, because if they are not, then the food that we consume is not healthy for us.
Aside, from just themes, there are some convincing pieces of evidence in the documentary. The fact that animals should be raised on a pasture is shown to be more suitable, more traditional, and also healthier for the consumer. Another, yet similar, piece of evidence is Will Allen’s greenhouse environment, and how thriving it is in the production and growth of plants. It’s a mini-ecosystem, in which there are no chemicals or pesticides added to the plants. Moreover, it explains and proves that crops do not need to be sprayed with chemicals, but yet that the very actions of nature should be instilled in growing crops; mostly because it’s cost effective and healthier.
Additionally, the film has some elements of comparing and contrasting certain ideas. The biggest contrast being the raising of the livestock and how they should be treated. On the other hand the biggest comparison would have to be that all of the local farmers agree that there should be no chemicals involved, and that every plant and animal should be raised traditionally and without certain types of feed.
Lastly, we can take the themes and ideas from this documentary and apply them to our own cultures. For instance, when Kremer stated that things now are “Faster. Bigger, cheaper”, we can assume that that method is not always the best. In fact, it is best to keep traditional ways, mostly because it’s more effective, it promotes hard work, and it is a way of life. Additionally, the traditions that are seen in this documentary are a reflection of our own ways of life. Furthermore, we should keep traditions and keep hard work because in the end, it pays off.