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Evolution of Organic

Mark Kitchell
Mark Kitchell

Evolution of Organic brings us the story of organic agriculture, told by those who built the movement. A motley crew of back-to- the-landers, spiritual seekers and farmers’ sons and daughters rejected chemical industrial farming and set out to discover organic alternatives. It’s a heartfelt journey of change -- from a small band of rebels to a cultural transformation in the way we grow and eat food. By now organic has gone mainstream – split into an industry oriented toward bringing organic to all people, and a movement that has realized a vision of sustainable agriculture. As interviewee Kelly Mulville says, “Creating health in the soil creates health in the ecosystem creates health in the atmosphere – and it all cycles around.”

Evolution of Organic is not just a history, but looks to exciting and important futures:

-- the next generation who are broadening and diversifying organic, taking on food justice and reforming the food system

-- carbon farming as a solution to climate change, taking carbon dioxide out of the air and putting it in the ground where it belongs -- “the best news on the planet”

-- what lies “beyond organic,” from soil microbiology as the new frontier to visions of a regenerative agriculture that restores everything from the ecosphere to the human spirit.

Evolution of Organic is a new film from Mark Kitchell, maker of Berkeley in the Sixties, which was nominated for an Academy Award, won other top honors and has become a well-loved classic; and A Fierce Green Fire, a big-picture exploration of environmental activism that aired on American Masters on Earth Day 2014. Veronica Selver edited the rough-cut; she is best known for Word Is Out, the pioneering film about gays in America. Legendary editor Robert Dalva is slated for the fine-cut; his credits include The Black Stallion, Jumanji, Captain America, Jurassic Park III and docs including the amazing television cutdown of A Fierce Green Fire.

Evolution of Organic made it to rough-cut in May. At 77 minutes it’s taut, feeling far along and getting good reviews. Some 500 people have seen it and what stands out is how much people like the film. We’ve had a good run. Six former funders gave $54K to shoot interviews last fall. Then a $40K grant from Gaia Fund enabled the rough-cut phase -- four months of scripting, editing and gathering archival material. By now $170K has been raised. An estimated $160K is needed to finish:

  • $25K for additional interviews and B-roll
  • $25K for animation, graphics and music
  • $25K mastering and licensing archival film and photos
  • $20K for production staff and overhead
  • $40K for editing the fine-cut
  • $25K for finishing costs like sound mixing and color correction.

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