From Seedling to Harvest: A Transformative Model of Community Empowerment

Currently, we are still in production of the short film, with the working title, From Seedling to Harvest: A Transformative Model of Community Empowerment.  We have worked diligently to record the growth of a radish plant, of which I will time-lapse into the storyline for its symbolism and for a nice visual effect.  This aspect was inspired by the incredible documentary, Seeds: The Untold Story, directed by Taggart Siegel and Jon Betz.  The process of interviewing and dissecting interviews to choose audio clips from that fit the storyline has been difficult and tedious, but fun nonetheless.  I am mostly using interviews from the last undergraduate research project I completed on urban gardening in the Bronx.  My interviews for that project were very engaging and raw, making this prime material for the short film.  I am very conscientious about getting consent from all people involved in the making of the film and I am overwhelmed by the excitement and willingness from friends in the food movement to get involved.

Dedicating the amount of energy and time to a big creative project like this atop life responsibilities is definitely a challenge.  Having to budget a creative project is also difficult, but I was able to purchase lenses for my phone camera instead of a professional camera which was definitely cost-effective.  I feel successful in pursuing a film project because I have no previous experience with it, and it is coming along beautifully.  I definitely plan to pursue funding further for it to develop it to my true vision.  I feel that what I am creating could really have in impact in drawing people into the food justice movements of New York City, specifically the South Bronx.  From this project, I am learning that taking risks in your research and stepping outside of the box is exhilarating.

From Seedling to Harvest: A Transformative Model of Community Empowerment

The working title of this project is From Seedling to Harvest: A Transformative Model of Community Empowerment.  The purpose of this project is to document the extent to which community farms (specifically in the Bronx) have saved and exchanged seeds during dire times.  This project will take a creative approach toward exploring the formation and development of seed banking in disenfranchised communities from 1970s NYC-present day.  The changing landscape of New York City has both threatened its biodiversity while simultaneously and unintentionally thrusting underserved residents into food sovereignty movements. Practices such as seed-saving and protecting pollinators were—and continue to be— key acts of resistance.  The food sovereignty movement holds an array of intersecting stories and important narratives of those that have invested true sweat equity to the cause.  I feel that the language of the food movement is often times co-opted and compartmentalized in a way that is unproductive, and visual art can be a medium for a just way of expression and repossession of community agency.

In terms of methods, I have created a production schedule, where we will be using case-study research in the Bronx to create a storyline that is organic.  We have recruited friends and colleagues to be an audience to our process, offering feedback.  The storyboard is set and film shooting has begun.  I will be learning the basics of editing and formatting for this project. I have no previous experience with film production as a medium for my research findings, and this challenge is exciting.