March 21, 2019
Blog Post

Sustainability in Agriculture: Bentonville Film Festival

The food on your plate at a local farm-to-table restaurant or community farmer’s market didn’t just magically appear there. More likely than not, one single element, potatoes for example, took months of labor, natural resources, and overcoming all odds before they were harvested. Once a food is produced, harvested, or butchered it then has multiple stops before it reaches your mouth. This entire journey has the opportunity to bring both real consequences or improvements to the land, animals, environment, and local communities.

The film The Biggest Little Farm helps to share the stories behind your food as two California dreamers leave their LA apartment to build a unique, diverse farm completely coexistent with nature. As their farm starts to come alive, they are faced with a greater understanding on how interconnected our world is.

Released at the Bentonville Film Festival, Laura Phillips, who leads Walmart’s work in global sustainability, hosted a discussion around The Biggest Little Farm with Patrick Bultema, FoodMaven Founder, Amber Strohauer, 4th generation farmer at Strohauer Farms, and Marcel Vigneron, chef and owner of Wolf. Laura begins the conversation with Walmart’s sustainability work, “Our vision is to provide food that is safe, affordable, healthy, great quality, and sustainable to people in all markets that we serve. We know that if we do that, we won’t only be able to just feed the world in a real way, but also doing that in a way that sustains people and the planet.” Walmart is working with suppliers to figure out ways to lower emissions through project Gigaton, with a goal to avert one billion metric tons of greenhouse gases by 2030.

Amber shares her sustainability experience as a farmer and how she sees herself represented in the film, pointing out that famers have to have an extremely optimistic mindset to the point where they’re almost crazy. Speaking to the importance of sustainability on a farm, Amber explains, “I think there’s a misconception that farmers are ruining the land. But at the end of the day that is our most valuable asset and that is what we are constantly thinking about.”

Feeling a sense of responsibility to know where his ingredients come from, Marcel discuses the intimacy of being a chef and creating dishes that people consumer into their body for nutrition. He also recognizes the challenges in finding a balance between sourcing the highest quality products, while meeting your business obligations. In sharing some of the difficulties in our food system and the impact of sourcing locally, Marcel states, “Our society has moved so far away from that connection with our food… When you source something locally, not only are you decreasing that carbon footprint impact of all the emissions, trucks, so on and so forth. You are also supporting that local community and there is nothing more important than that if you live in that community.”

Patrick ends the discussion with his experience growing up on a farm and sharing the hardships the aging population of farmers and new, younger farmers are facing. Sharing his enjoyment of The Biggest Little Farm, Patrick states, “Most of all, I appreciate that it can reawaken awareness for farmers in our society and a thoughtfulness around where our food comes from. That’s the most profound thing that I took away from the film.”

Watch the video above to learn more about the film and to hear the full discussion.