Local Food Connection (LFC), The Gem and Take Action Bethel are pleased to announce a collaborative agenda to celebrate Earth Day in Bethel on Sunday, April 22. The potluck and movie are part of the quarterly Food & Film Series offered by LFC and The Gem.

Festivities commence with a River Walk starting at Davis Park at 2 p.m. The activities move to The Gem for a 3:30 Potluck Appetizer Social, followed by 4:30 screenings of four films: “Growing Local” (Maine Farmland Trust), “Farms of Western Maine: Moon Dance Farm” (The Eddy School), Foothills Food Festival: “Celebrating Local Food” (Center for an Ecology-Based Economy) and “Alan Day Community Garden Youth Leadership Program.” The last three are roughly five-minute documentaries created locally about the local food systems.

Following the films, at 6 p.m., panelists will discuss the movies with an active Q&A session. They include Chris Franklin, MFT Farmland Protection project manager; Deb Webster, a teacher at The Eddy School; and Bonnie Pooley, Alan Day Community Garden board member.

Maine Farmland Trust’s “Growing Local” is a mid-length film in three parts that explores the growing pains of the local food movement and the uncertain fate of the farmers and farmland that keep it alive. While “buying local” is on the rise, these three poignant vignettes make clear that small farms and access to locally produced food are not a sure thing. In “Growing Local,” meet father and son organic dairy farmers struggling with the realities of producing a commodity food product to keep their farm going. The film also follows an artisanal butcher who illustrates how healthy, thoughtful meat production can be supported and sustained, and the series closes with the story of a young farm couple who, on risky sweat-equity, have revitalized a fertile piece of farmland into a thriving community food hub. These stories help to better understand the interconnected fates of farmers and farmland, consumers and the local food movement.

Growing Local Contributors: Executive Producer and Director: Bridget Besaw; Producer and Editor: Tahria Sheather; Consulting Editor: Par Parekh; Camera: Bridget Besaw, Tahria Sheather, Daniel Casado; Original Music: Tyler Strickland, Joshua Eden; Sound Design and Mix: Anne Tolkinnen.

About Local Food Connection

The Local Food Connection wants to help carry the Greater Bethel Area into a more sustainable future focused on self-reliance, local economic vitality and healthier food choices for all community members. LFC works to build and to sustain a food system environment that encourages all community members to grow, prepare, serve, purchase and consume local foods.

About The Gem

Our mission is to build community, frame by frame. We envision The Gem as a community hub where families go for a fun night out, and individuals are able to engage with the local arts community. We offer affordable tickets and diverse programming to make the theater accessible to all ages and incomes. Ten percent of our yearly profits go back into the community by supporting local arts initiatives.

Access to many forms of arts and culture is limited in rural areas, yet film is not limited by geography. If we have the right equipment, (which we now do!), we can bring the best films in the world to this rural part of western Maine. We’re committed to keeping the theater open in Bethel because we believe that access to great films and movies can inspire, educate and bolster our community.

Take Action Bethel mission statement

“We are committed to upholding deeply cherished and widely-held American values, such as a clean and safe environment, our nation’s inherent diversity, our immigrant heritage, equal rights and justice and caring for the poor and disenfranchised.” Find Take Action Bethel on Facebook.

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