Salted with Sharks

Chris Bedford Was Here

In Green Elbertians, Open Season, The Mess Deck on June 15, 2011 at 11:00 pm

The filmmaker Christopher Bedford, who passed away this week, made a visit to the Elberta Farmers Market on May 26. Amid a driving, chilly wind that blew stacks of morels and vases of lilacs off the picnic tables, Chris spoke about the possibilities for local food systems. Later that day he showed one of his films to a small crowd at the home of Suz McLaughlin. We thank Chris for the time he spent with us and the devotion he showed to building stronger, healthier communities all over Michigan.

“It’s been intense; the winter started early and it just continued. I live on an organic farm on the north side of White Lake, in Montague. I grow lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, onions, potatoes, herbs, and leafy greens like kale in a hoophouse. I have twelve films posted full-length on Vimeo in low res—my film work is a movement as opposed to a business opportunity. I just released a new film called Getting Real, about food in the future. Building hoophouses is one of the big changes that will enable communities to be self-sustaining…. Big Ag is going down the tubes. Communities that have established their own local freezing and storage facilities have realized gains for their restaurants … their Sysco bills are cut in half, and their clientele notice a difference between what used to get trucked in—the freshly preserved local produce is just so much better…. You need to do a human inventory in your community. Who has what skills, what skills and knowledge are lacking. Because at $7 a gallon, no one will be commuting from Muskegon to Grand Rapids anymore. These are real numbers; $7 a gallon is what Europe is already paying for gas. We need to celebrate the people in our communities who have the survival skills we need. Once you start working with your neighbors, you learn that your quality of life’s not about an accumulation of goods, but about building strong relationships.”

  1. Thank you, Alert, for this update. What a shame. He was an inspiration and some of us viewed one of his films that evening.

  2. I worked with Chris in the 70’s and 80’s with Organizing Media. We developed education and training programs for labor unions throughout the country. Sorry to hear about his death. I would welcome an opportunity to speak wth the members of his family. Irv Rosenstein 201 W. Evergreen Ave. Phila, Pa. 19118 215-247-5746.

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