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    Food Beware

    Alimentary school

    "Food Beware" shows what happens when communities decide to take their schools organic and pay attention to what their children are eating.


    Eating and buying food is a political act. It is the most immediate way we can respond to the health crisis affecting not just America but the entire world. The only way we will stop the glut of non-food items, packaged food-like substances and out-and-out poisons being served to our children is not to buy them, not to eat them, and not to allow them near our kids.

    Original title: Nos enfants nous accuseront.
    Directed by: Jean-Paul Jaud.
    Produced by: Béatrice Jaud, Jean-Paul Jaud.
    Cinematography: Amar Arhab, Joel Pierron.
    Music by: Gabriel Yared.
    In French and English with English subtitles.

    Related links: Official site
    Quad Cinema
    34 West 13th St., between 6th Ave. and University
    (212) 255-8800.

    "Food Beware: The French Organic Revolution" is an engrossing documentary that chronicles a pioneering food experiment in Barjac du Gard, a small village in the mountains of France. Produced in French with English subtitles, the movie follows a public school's attempt to re-educate its children and their families about food by growing and serving local, organic produce in the school's cafeteria with the extra cost financed by the municipal budget. Spearheaded by the town mayor in opposition to powerful economic interests, the school and its community become very involved in the project. The cafeteria workers agree to work extra hours and make all the meals from scratch. The children and their teachers plant a garden and later harvest the vegetables.

    Food Beware  
    While the rest of the world has an image of France as a food paradise, this documentary contradicts that notion and clearly presents France as a culture in crisis, in particular with regard to pollutants and the quality of its food. Director Jean-Paul Jaud highlights such alarming facts as that 76,000 tons of pesticides are used in France each year. The incidence of environmentally caused cancers in France has grown at an alarming rate, greater than in most other European countries.

    The documentary shows children eating a non-organic diet and then lists the pesticides and additives in everything from spaghetti to bananas. The filmmakers interview farmers who spray with heavy pesticides, many of whom have children sick with cancer or are sick themselves. Journalists, teachers, children and politicians are featured on camera expressing their fears about the contamination of their food chain and their efforts to reverse the problem.

      Food Beware
    Like a similar experiment in the Berkeley Public School System, this documentary clearly demonstrates that locally grown organic food is an absolute necessity to ensure the health of our children. The extra cost is minimal in comparison to the stress on the health-care system from people made sick by the food they eat.

    While it requires more effort on the part of the cooks, farmers, the children and their parents, banding together to address an issue so fundamental as the quality of what they eat created a sense of well-being and community among the villagers of Barjac du Gard. What they had for lunch was a political act with major ramifications from everything from their health to the town's fiscal budget.

    "Food Beware" is a reminder that America is not alone in our national health crisis and the surest way to make a difference is to radically change the way we eat and what we feed our children and to do it now.

    OCTOBER 16, 2009

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