January 21st 2021 will see the release of an explosive new film which exposes how we must urgently change the ways that we farm and eat – because the current ways are not only openly killing the planet but are also secretly poisoning its people.
Coincidentally coming in the year that marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of The Soil Association, Robert Golden’s provocative documentary This Good Earth is set to shake the foundations of our trust in the safety of much of modern farming and our food.
The 92-minute film from the award-winning director reveals how we face environmental disaster unless all ploughing is stopped and how only organic farming can now safely feed the world.
The film, beautifully shot in American-born Golden’s home county of Dorset, UK, and two years in the making, brings together farmers, scientists, ecologists and expert academics to contest the disturbing influence that agrichemical giants exert over the farming industry and warns that the way we currently grow our food could effectively kill us unless huge changes are made in how we treat our land and other species.
This Good Earth also probes the alarming questions of what potential damage is done to our bodies through agrichemicals used in the growing of food and additives used in its growing, manufacture and consumption.
Dorset organic baker Richard Wright tells in the film of his horror at what goes into some supermarket bread that consumers have no idea about.
“The amount of stuff that people hide in food! Some supermarket loaves put ‘enzymes’ on the label but one of those enzymes was pigs’ stomach linings that they put in it,” says Wright.
Vegetarians, vegans, Jewish people and Muslims have no idea they are eating pork in their bread.
Wright adds: “People buying these supermarket loaves, they don’t know they’ve been eating pork; they [the manufacturers] don’t have to explain to them they’ve been eating pork.”
An emulsifier used in the making of much non-organic bread, buns and bakery products as a dough strengthener and crumb softener is Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate [SSL]. SSL is derived from the combination of lactic acid and stearic acid. Stearic acid is a hard fatty substance made from rendered animal fat.
Experts also express fears in the film that chemicals commonly used to grow food are poisoning us.
“After agrichemicals have been sprayed on land and on crops they inevitably contaminate the food that we subsequently eat,” says Erik Millstone, Emeritus Professor of Science Policy at the University of Sussex.
“And whilst it is common for officials and Government advisers to say ‘Oh, the residual levels are safe’, I’m not at all convinced. To the contrary there is a lot of evidence that even the pesticide residues in common foods are problematic”.
Human rights lawyer Richard Harvey, one of many experts interviewed for This Good Earth, adds: “When you know that the quality of the food that is being produced is actually damaging the people that it’s destined for, it’s a bit like saying you’re poisoning them – and there are laws against poisoning.”
At a time when a 2020 YouGov survey revealed that 3 in 10 Brits prefer to give their families organic natural food and vast international movements are swelling fears of how non-organic farming contributes to global warming, This Good Earth discloses that almost half (47%) of British farmers do not believe that they must take actions to reduce greenhouse gases.
And as the long corporate food chain is driven by the rapacious desire for increasing profits, Richard Harvey warns in the film that this at the expense of the planet could yet lead to criminal prosecutions.
“It’s a question of international crime, the International Criminal Court makes it a crime against humanity to destroy the environment,” says Harvey.
As a new and updated re-sounding of The Soil Association’s original alarm at its founding in 1946, “that there is a direct connection between farming practice and plant, animal, human and environmental health”, This Good Earth is essential viewing for farmers, consumers, ecologists and those concerned with human rights, as well as providing a key study tool for schools, universities and all of those who share the deep concerns of how and what we feed ourselves.
The documentary – which features expert analysis and forecasts from Professor Tim Lang, the UK’s foremost expert on food security, and Liz Bowles, Associate Director of The Soil Association, alongside Professors Jules Pretty and Erik Millstone revealing the stark and unsettling truth about the links between food corporations, people’s diets and debilitating illnesses – will be released on January 21st 2021 and premiered in Bridport, Dorset, and will be available for streaming from the film’s website https://this-good-earth.com where you can read more about it and access its beautiful trailer.
From 1999 to 2005 Robert Golden, an internationally-known photographer and documentary film-maker, created two successful TV series, Savouring The World and Savouring Europe. These films are good-time stories looking at the food and culture of 26 different regions around the world.
One episode was devoted to West Dorset, filming farmers, food producers, artisans and others who worked in and cared for this area of outstanding beauty.
The films launched the Screen Bites Film Festival, which over the years has helped to develop local food and farming businesses, supported as they have been by screenings in village halls across Dorset.
Robert was one of the most successful food and still-life photographers in the UK and internationally in the 80s and 90s, adding to his portfolio as director and director of photography 900 TV food commercials and two award-winning feature films.
He has since made 50 documentaries. His research about many aspects of food production and his love of food and his caring for those who work so hard to produce it led him to make This Good Earth.
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