If you find soil interesting — and even if you don’t — this film is worth a look.
“Symphony of the Soil,” director Deborah Koons-Garcia’s latest effort following her 2004 film “The Future of Food,” is a 104-minute documentary that explores the evolution and importance of soil in today’s world.
Filmed on four continents and sharing the voices of some of the world’s most esteemed soil scientists, farmers and activists, the film portrays soil as a protagonist of our planetary story and attempts to debunk the assertion that sustainable, organic farming methods can’t feed the world.
The first third offers an overview of soil science, with a look at the origins of various kinds of soil, as well as its mineral and biological components.
The second third looks at the human relationship with soil, with an exploration of historic and cutting-edge farming systems, all the way from the Romans up to the latest studies done by the Rodale Institute, and a glimpse at how in India, Jaspal Singh Chattha, a biodynamic farmer in the Punjab, shares the “art of making compost” and how he has regenerated his land after the ravages of the Green Revolution.
The third section of the film explores “big picture” ideas such as soil and climate change, water use, health and a variety of other topics that support the case for treating soil with care.
Fred Kirschenmann, Distinguished Fellow at The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, explains how returning to small-scale organic farming is a viable solution to the problems of resource depletion, climate change and the end of oil.
Vandana Shiva, physicist and environmental activist, speaks of the importance of seeds and seed saving from her fields in India, and the film visits Stone Barns, just north of New York City, the home of a world-class restaurant and a gathering place for the community.
In that segment, acclaimed chef Dan Barber and Four Seasons Farm Manager Jack Algiere reveals an admirable dynamic between chef and grower, where flavour is directly linked to soil and production practices.
With all proceeds going the the Organic Food Council of Manitoba, the film will be screened Sept. 24, 25, 26 at Brandon’s Evan’s Theater, the Park Theatre Cafe in Winnipeg, and at Mennonite Heritage Museum in Steinbach, respectively.
Showtimes at all venues begin at 7 p.m., and following the film, there will be a panel discussion at each location featuring local organic farmers.