Susan Granger’s review of “Farmageddon” (Kristin Marie Productions)
Raw milk is the conundrum in this aptly titled, well-intentioned documentary by Kristin Canty, who introduces herself as a concerned mother whose allergy-suffering child was healed by the holistic properties of raw milk. But since raw milk runs the risk of carrying the potentially lethal E.coli bacteria, it is not only difficult to acquire in many states but it is also banned from interstate commerce. So Canty targets a conspiracy between big government and big agri-business.
According to Canty, the USDA and FDA are quietly waging war against America’s small farmers, even when they can prove that they are contributing healthy products into our food supply. These farmers and organic food distributors, along with their families, including young children, have been subjected to such excessive harassment and forcible seizures that the surveillance videos look like terrorist attacks. The disturbing objective seems to be to force them into bankruptcy and out of business.
All of the organic farmers Canty interviews appear to be highly educated, dedicated and responsible. One Vermont couple imported 28 sheep from New Zealand at a cost of $5,000 apiece. These animals were properly quarantined there and, again, when they reached the United States and were certified healthy by all standards. Nevertheless, without explanation, their herd was confiscated and executed, even though it was proven that they were never exposed to or infected by ‘mad cow’ disease.
And a Mennonite farmer in Pennsylvania was arrested as armed federal agents took $65,000 in food and equipment, even though he was assured that his sustainable farming practices were absolutely legitimate.
Unfortunately while muckraking this ‘food for thought,’ Canty gives little time or credence to moderates, like food-safety consultant David Acheson, a former FDA food safety chief, who takes a more comprehensive, balanced stance. But not presenting all sides with equanimity has become an accepted part of agitprop filmmaking.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Farmageddon” is a rabble-rousing 5, asserting the consumer’s right to have access to healthful food, whether it comes from the farm stand or the supermarket.