Dirt: The Movie is worth digging into for improving the food supply

March 22, 2010 at 3:26 pm

You might think sitting through a movie about dirt might not be that exciting, but when you realize how important dirt is to the food supply, you find yourself captivated by “Dirt: The Movie.”

The 60-minute documentary was followed by a panel discussion of local citizens involved in improving the soil, especially in an urban environment. The documentary airing was at the Chicago Cultural Center.

As most documentaries seem to go, we see the bad then the good.

The effects of monoculture crop growth on the soil.

The damages are not limited to the practices of the big farm mentality of the United States, but indeed this problem is worldwide.

We also see the good.

We see distinct small farming strategies to try and recoup previously lost land. There are urban efforts to grow good soil and produce better food.

Starvation around the Earth is affected by the quality of the dirt. Industrial farming affects the quality of the dirt.

The panel discussion featured Ken Dunn from the Resource Center, Orrin Williams from the Center for Urban Transportation, Nancy Klehm from Spontaneous Vegetation, and Pete Leki and Jordan Rivera, Waters Elementary School. Rivera is a a student who is learning how compost makes soil richer. Erin Kennedy of SACARCE was the moderator.

The movie is based on the book from William Bryant Logan, “Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth.” Logan is interviewed in the documentary.

Don’t worry. If you missed “Dirt: The Movie,” you can still catch the movie on WTTW-Channel 11 on Tuesday, April 20 at 10 p.m. as part of the Independent Lens series on PBS.