Promoting Organic Farming
Movies like Dirt! are a great way to sensitise people on the importance of soil.
The Kunzum Café in Hauz Khas, along with the organisation ‘I Say Organic,’ held the screening of Dirt! – The Movie recently. Directed by Bill Benson and Gene Rosow, Dirt... was screened in a bid to promote organic farming and organic products.
The movie first premiered at the Official Selection section at Sundance Film Festival in 2009 and has won multiple awards the world over since.
The film aims to highlight the importance of the soil which we often shun but in actuality, it is the most precious resource of nature. It also talked about the relationship that humans have with dirt. Soil is like the skin of the earth and humans are bent on destroying it.
Modern agriculture is one of the primary reasons for depletion of the top soil. Pesticides and chemically manipulated seeds hurt micro-organisms present in the soil. The film presented the micro-organisms as living creatures, equating them to humans.
Erosion and unnatural ways of breaking land result in soil depletion and hurt the microorganisms living below. Inspired by Bill Logan’s Dirt, the Ecstatic Skin of the Earth, the film explores how soil can be utilised to create a healthy, more organic environment.
Certain portions described in the book are portrayed through animation in the film. For instance an old, dilapidated stationary truck gets filled with garbage and dirt over a period of time and eventually it turns into a garden.
Benson and Rosow have sought to portray the importance of soil by giving it a holy stature, by presenting the Potrero Plaza in New Mexico, an internationally renowned chapel where believers throng to heal themselves by anointing themselves with the soil that is found in its backyard.
In India, soil is commonly used to build homes - as it keeps one cool in summer and warm in winter, unlike cement homes. Inputs from various environmental experts including Vandana Shiva of Navdanya fame made the movie even more enriching.
On its part, ‘I say Organic,’ has been consistently making efforts to reach out to farmers to convince them to try out organic farming. But Ashmeet Kapoor - one of its founders, explained, “Farmers are often reluctant to try organic farming even when we tell them that their forefathers were primarily organic.
They remain unconvinced about the produce. In this kind of farming, pesticides and seeds are the farmer’s own and are made organically. We are currently working with around 70 farmers but it hasn’t been very easy to work with them.”
Films like Dirt and efforts such as those of ‘I say Organic’ may just bear fruit in time to come. But just how soon that might happen is anybody’s guess.