Community screening of the film by Mark Kitchell – In November 2017 Mark Kitchell brought his new documentary film, Evolution of Organic, to the Willits Little Lake Grange in Northern California. It’s a new film on the history of organic agriculture told by those who built the movement. Willits and the surrounding county of Mendocino have a rich tradition of organics and everybody in the audience was either a happy consumer of local food or a farmer/gardener themselves.
Gloria and Stephen Decater and Ruthie King are among those local farmer/gardeners and in addition they were important participants in the movie, Evolution of Organic. The Decaters began as students of Alan Chadwick’s in Santa Cruz, and founded in 1973 the Live Power Community Farm in Round Valley in Mendocino County.
It is a 50-acre, solar electric and horse-powered, certified biodynamic farm. Four acres are devoted to an intensive vegetable garden. The rest of the farm is used to grow home orchard fruits and field and forage crops for hay, grain, and pasture. Animals on the Live Power Community Farm include draft horses, dairy and beef cows, feeder pigs, sheep, and laying hens.
Ruthie King is Director of Operations and Livestock Manager at the Grange Farm School on Ridgewood Ranch – where she lives. She is also the Representative of the Mendocino Farmer’s Guild and Overseer of the Little Lake Grange.
After the screening of the film they came forward to comment and answer questions. Curiously this particular audience asked many questions about two founding personalities of the organic movement and the Philosophy behind it who were no longer alive when the film was made: Alan Chadwick and Rudolf Steiner.
Alan Chadwick was an English master gardener, and a leading innovator of organic farming techniques based on Biodynamic and French Intensive gardening practice. He was a student of Rudolf Steiner’s. Steiner, who died in March 1925 was an Austrian philosopher, social reformer, architect and agriculturalist. He founded a number of schools, the first of which was known as the Waldorf school, which later evolved into a worldwide school network. He also founded a system of organic agriculture, now known as biodynamic agriculture, which was one of the very first forms of modern organic farming.
The film: Evolution of Organic by Mark Kitchell is going into distribution in early 2018. Kitchell also introduced the writer Kim Bancroft who used transcripts of the many partitioners of organics. She edited them into essays, preserving material that was impossible to fit into the 86 minute film.
Director and writer Mark Kitchell is best known for his movies: Berkeley in the Sixties and his environmental film A Fierce Green Fire. The web site for the film is http://evolutionoforganic.com/
I recorded this program at the Willits Little Lake Grange on November 17, 2017.