Hosts Dust Bowl photo exhibit & film on suicides caused by GM crops
RENSSELAERVILLE, NY – On Saturday, December 1 the Carey Center for Global Good will host an evening of events which explore the human faces behind two of the world’s most catastrophic farming events—the Dust Bowl days of the 1930s and the shocking number of suicides among Indian farmers since the introduction of genetically modified crops.
The events begin at 5:00 pm with an opening reception and photo exhibit entitled ‘Surviving the Dust Bowl’ featuring the work of photographers such as Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans and others hired by the United States government to document the social, economic and environmental fall out of the Dust Bowl. The images have been reprinted by American visual artist, Hans Soderquist.
The second event of the evening is a screening and panel discussion of Bitter Seeds, a documentary film about farmer suicide and genetically modified agriculture in India at 6:00 pm in the Guggenheim Auditorium, 63 Huyck Road, Rensselaerville. Guests are invited to join in a post-screening panel discussion about the global debate currently unfolding around GM agriculture. Admission to film and panel is $5. Please call 518-797-5100 to reserve seats.
“Bitter Seeds” is the third film in Micha Peled’s globalization trilogy. The documentary takes us to an Indian village at the center of the suicide crisis region to explore what’s behind these shocking statistics. Tracking the root causes of the crisis, it follows Ram Krishna, a cotton farmer and his family over a season as they struggle to hold on to their land. It’s also the story of the neighbor’s daughter, Manjusha, who is determined to overcome village traditions and become a journalist. Ram Krishna’s plight becomes her first assignment. BITTER SEEDS raises critical questions about the human cost of genetically modified agriculture and the future of how we grow things. The film has won 18 international awards.
“The mission of the film forum is to bring people together to learn about and discuss important issues of day,” said Carol Ash, president of the Carey Center for Global Good. “Why should we care about the struggles of a cotton farmer in India? What does he have in common with farmers in our region?”
More than you might think, says panelist Carol Clement. “Our farm is the antithesis of GM agriculture, right down to the grain we feed our animals. But GM products dominate the market. Whether you’re buying cotton seeds in India or animal feed in New York, it’s a real challenge to find non-GMO alternatives. They’re not always available, not always viable or economical.” Clement operates Heather Ridge Farm in Preston Hollow, NY. She will be joined by George Weld, chef/owner of Egg Restaurant and Parish Hall in NYC and Goatfell Farm in the Northern Catskills and Micha Peled, director of “Bitter Seeds” via Skype.
The social, economic and environmental issues documented in Bitter Seeds bring renewed poignancy to these iconic images of ‘Surviving the Dust Bowl.’ Soderquist, whose photographic work has been included in group shows in New York, Baltimore and Nashville, curated and reprinted the collection from negatives held by the National Library of Congress. The prints will be on display and available for purchase at the Guggenheim Pavilion at the Carey Center for Global Good, 63 Huyck Road, Rensselaerville, for the month of December.