Medley medley medley, I ended up getting soaked in Chelsea today, I think people like getting caught in the rain. Or like watching other people getting caught in the rain. But in a really sweet way. I was grinning like a soggy dog. The little old ladies who couldn’t run out smiled at me. The people in their snazzy duds who couldn’t run out smiled at me. We put on our science hats and our poets pens. Everyone was watching for the rainbows.
Hours later it is dusk and I mount a hill at Fort Green Park, the sky is a tumult of cloudless blue and Manhattan is part of a horizon that stretches to the sea, it is the only view where New York seems like it belonged to the world, like the world is a constellation. New York is all a horizon, it is a city about horizons, it’s another north star, but it’s all a constellation.
We saw this film “What’s on Your Plate” at the BAM outdoor film screening, at Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn.
The film is directed by a broadly thinking social justice documentary filmmaker Catherine Gund, and hosted by two New York middle schoolers. It is a movie that will be shown in schools and to people who are dipping their toes in the world of more progressive sustainability reform. There are several particularly brave moments in it, especially for a film that could have wallowed in safe yuppy yoga mat zone. Gund brings it into the realm of environmental justice, as opposed to eco-chic.We hear about food deserts in ghettos, Latino immigrants inclination to farms, and they even pull out the statistic that there are more prisoners than small farmers (for a cursory primer on some of the wonderful world of environmental justice, read Van Jones’ blazing tract, Beyond Eco-Apartheid).
Gund neatly and provocatively takes an issue that is deeply political and algebraic, and makes it tangible and accessible. The girls have just enough experience living in a city all their lives to be equally in awe of the workings of nature, but worldly and Sesame Street enough to think that growing up vegetarian and eating a plethora of ethnic foods is worthy of a “doesn’t everybody?”. So to them, the idea of making the food system local and fair is as obvious and inescapable a challenge as buying a prom dress.
My friend Kelly and I met the girls and director afterwards, and they all have that sort of matter of factness about the issue, the way kids go about getting a drivers license or a prom dress or a job, that is refreshing, and well, duh.
Duh. Horizons people, horizons.
(this song is so good, Dance Anthem of the 80s. )