Cinema Politica film offers alternative to unsustainable, destructive agriculture model
Conventional agriculture is about extracting from the land to produce as much food as possible. It’s taking without giving back. The current model of industrial agriculture is unsustainable, inefficient, polluting and unnatural.
Finding a viable alternative that will feed the world’s population, while also decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, is one of the complicated and thorny issues of our times.
And yet, the solution might be embarrassingly simple: permanent agriculture, or permaculture.
Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective explores the principles of this new vision of agriculture by showing the viewer different farms that abide by the principles of permaculture.
Directed by Costa Boutsikaris and produced by Emmett Brennan, the film is both beautiful and poignant. The subject in and of itself is fascinating, but the cinematography and beautiful score, composed by Aled Roberts, carries the narrative. The film has an optimistic feel through its uplifting score—a nice change from the typical doom-and-gloom outlook on the future.
Permaculture is about designing a living, breathing ecosystem—one in which plants and animals coexist symbiotically with one another and the land. It is a step further than sustainability. Permaculture is about making things better through intelligent design and structural adjustments, while sustainability is simply about making sure the environment doesn’t worsen. It is the complete opposite of conventional industrialized agriculture, which is the attempt by humans to control nature.
In theory, spaces that adhere to the principles of permaculture would continue to function if the human element was removed. Fruit trees coexist with vegetables, perennials, flowers, insects and even grazing animals—all working together to form an ecosystem.
The film’s central argument is that no space is too large or too small to abide by the principles of permaculture. It is divided into different points of focus, and rounds out its argument by looking at how different scholars, artists, farmers and ordinary citizens have transformed their spaces to create ecosystems. It looks at suburbs, cities and farms, exploring how each space can be transformed through intelligent design.
There are 40 million acres of lawn in the United States that could be producing food, while also bringing people together through communal gardens. In cities such as New York, there has been a surge in rooftop green spaces. Not only is this a more efficient use of space, but it also diminishes the burden on sewage systems during intense rains. These are just some of the examples highlighted in the film.
Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective was one of the last films to screen at Cinema Politica this semester. The final screening, on Monday, April 18, will feature a selection of feminist short films from the 2016 Fantasia Film Festival. A total of nine shorts will be featured, focusing on intersectionality in feminism. Screenings take place in H-110. Admission is by donation.