Images From “Hand to Mouth: The Athens Ohio Food Movement”

Today was a big day for myself, Dan, Heather and Zak–it was the first time we presented a significant chunk of our documentary in public. We were the first presenters of the morning today at the “Real Food, Real Local, Real Good Institute,” which is all about building a thriving local food economy similar to the one we have here in Athens. We had a small crowd of about thirty people, many of whom were not from Athens, and didn’t know any of the people in our roughly 16 minute film clip, so I was surprised and thrilled to see tears in some of their eyes by the time the credits rolled.

I credit the intense emotional connection to the excellent soundtrack provided by Zak, the very talented musician who also happens to be my husband. His fingerpicked acoustic guitar song, “So Pretty” and slide resonator guitar version of “Simple Gifts”, as well as a short electric guitar bit called, “Big Ag Blues” were all stupendous, but everyone’s favorite seemed to be a song called “Circle of Life.”

“Circle of Life” is a round, and was written decades ago by one of our oldest friends, Sonja Coble. It was originally sung a capella, but Zak worked out an arrangement with multiple acoustic and electric guitars playing all of the vocal pieces, building the music to a lovely emotional crescendo.

The music combined with the powerful words of our interviewees– farmers, food producers, non-profit directors and businesspeople– and the beautiful footage shot and edited by Dan, into a heady brew which moved our audience in ways I don’t think any of us involved in the project expected.

I’m thrilled now to finish up our interviews–we have about six of them left to do, and start writing a script so we can start the hard work of editing, composing and recording music and doing all of the other post-production stuff that makes a film magical. Having seen the effect it has on other people has energized all of us, propelling us forward toward our goal of seeing this project through to the finish.

So, let me publicly thank the folks working on the film with me: Daniel Trout, Heather Irwin and Zak Kramer, as well as all of the amazingly generous people of Athens who have cheerfully opened their farms, homes, businesses and lives to our cameras and microphones so we can capture their stories.

Together, all of us are making something that I hope can carry the story of how a thriving, continually expanding local food economy evolved in Athens to other communities so that the model can be made anew in other small towns and cities across our country.

We have a great harvest here in our small corner of Appalachian Ohio–now it’s time to plant some seeds elsewhere and watch them grow.


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  1. I’m so glad to hear how well your project is going. I really look forward to being able to see the finished product. Having spent a couple of years working on a small farm, I’m excited abut your work to share the importance and possibilities of a local food culture.

    Comment by Addy — July 16, 2012 #

  2. It’s going to be awesome.

    Comment by Megan Macartney — July 16, 2012 #

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