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Monday, July 22, 2013

In Organic We Trust Screening: Watch a Movie, Help Farmers!

Posted By on Mon, Jul 22, 2013 at 8:00 AM

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There's a $5 suggested donation for the screening, which will be at 7:30 p.m. at Schlafly Bottleworks (7260 Southwest Avenue, Maplewood, 314-241-2337). The money benefits Slow Food's Small Farm Micro Biodiversity Grant, which has awarded $50,000 in micro grants to more than 40 local farmers since 2009. The grants are used to cultivate heirloom variety produce and heritage breed animals. Childs says the grants have resulted in over 250 new varieties and breeds entering the St. Louis marketplace.

But wait: Why is that good? "Right now we're using chemicals to deal with a lot of issues like weather patterns and climate change and bugs -- but what historically has happened is we have used different varieties to deal with these issues," Childs says. "As far as the food side, we have lost about 50 percent of that by not continuing to cultivate that and to focus on so few varieties and commodity crops."

St. Louis is actually a great place for consumers to learn about these things and develop relationships with their food, Childs says, because the city's not too large that we lose touch. Here, it's easier than ever to meet the people who are producing what you eat. "We have noticed the conversation in St. Louis around our local food system get much more sophisticated over the past few years," she says. "People are becoming quite wise to the complexities involved in sustainability. We're starting to see some real growth even thought we still don't have all the answers."

Sam Wiseman of Sunflower Savannah Farm, one of the grant recipients, will also be doing a Q&A after the screening. If you still need another reason to go and be part of the conversation, Prichard promises some free Chipotle food, too.

Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. Email the author at or follow her on Twitter.

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