A vital investigation of the economic and environmental instability of America’s food system, from the agricultural issues we face — soil loss, water depletion, climate change, pesticide use — to the community of leaders who are determined to fix it. Sustainable is a film about the land, the people who work it and what must be done to sustain it for future generations.
The narrative of the film focuses on Marty Travis, a seventh-generation farmer in central Illinois who watched his land and community fall victim to the pressures of big agribusiness. Determined to create a proud legacy for his son, Marty transforms his profitless wasteland and pioneers the sustainable food movement in Chicago.
Sustainable travels the country seeking leadership and wisdom from some of the most forward thinking farmers like Bill Niman, Klaas Martens and John Kempf – heroes who challenge the ethical decisions behind industrial agriculture. It is a story of hope and transformation, about passion for the land and a promise that it can be restored to once again sustain us.
Matt Wechsler and Annie Speicher are the storytellers at Hourglass Films behind SUSTAINABLE. The film is a passion project for them, combining their roles as food activists with their talents as documentary filmmakers. SUSTAINABLE was screened at 40+ film festivals around the world and won the 2016 Accolade Global Humanitarian Award for Outstanding Achievement. Their past work includes the 2012 New York Emmy-nominated documentary DIFFERENT IS THE NEW NORMAL, which aired nationally on PBS and was narrated by Michael J. Fox. Their latest film, RIGHT TO HARM, exposes the devastating public health impact factory farming has on many disadvantaged citizens throughout the United States.
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How we produce and consume food has a bigger impact on Americans’ well-being than any other human activity. The food industry is the largest sector of our economy; food touches everything from our health to the environment, climate change, economic inequality and the federal budget. Yet we have no food policy — no plan or agreed-upon principles — for managing American agriculture or the food system as a whole. The food system and the diet it’s created have caused incalculable damage to the health of our people and our land, water and air. That must change. A national food policy would guarantee that:
● All Americans have access to healthful food;
● Farm policies are designed to support our public health and environmental objectives;
● Our food supply is free of toxic bacteria, chemicals and drugs;
● Production and marketing of our food are done transparently;
● The food industry pays a fair wage to those it employs;
● Food marketing sets children up for healthful lives by instilling in them a habit of eating real food;
● Animals are treated with compassion and attention to their well-being;
● The food system’s carbon footprint is reduced, and the amount of carbon sequestered on farmland is increased;
● The food system is sufficiently resilient to withstand the effects of climate change.
Think of the food system as something that works for us rather than exploits us, something that encourages health rather than undermines it. That is the food system the people of the United States deserve.