Sunday, October 4, 2009

Eating Alaska - the movie!

Mr EA and I just got back from the Bear Tooth, where we watched the Anchorage showing of Eating Alaska! This film, locally created and produced by film maker Ellen Frankenstein, was presented as part of the Eating Local Film Festival of earlier post fame.
Told from a personal perspective, this movie is an intelligent, down-to-earth view of eating sustainably and locally here in Alaska. The film maker, formerly a vegetarian, asks pertinent questions about how we get what we eat here. She asks everyone, from Native school kids to a vegetarian group in the Mat-Su valley, penetrating questions about why they eat what they do, and how they get it. Another hard question she examines is that of toxins - a very real concern when you are looking at subsistence hunting and living.
Many of the points she makes while discussing agriculture here are points I have wondered about (and written about) as well. We don't have a lot of local agriculture - there aren't a lot of farms and there is a very abbreviated growing season. This presents some real challenges on the local eating front. Hunting and fishing are a reasonable and locally popular way to get your protein - Mr EA and I work office jobs here in the city of Anchorage, and we both work with a LOT of people who fish and hunt for part of their food.
On a personal level, there is a moment early in the film where Ellen is at a farmer's market elsewhere, and she is discussing the point of the film she is right then making with another woman. The woman asks if we grow vegetables here, and then makes a remark about how we can just eat whale blubber. Very similar statements to us from loved ones back in the lower 48 where what inspired me to start writing this blog. So I am not the only one who reacts strongly to blubber remarks!
The film presents a balanced, good-natured view of the issues discussed, and raises questions and sparks discussion without presenting a dictatorial set of answers. There was also a reasonable humor level, which is refreshing in a documentary. I can honestly say it was a wonderful movie, and I enjoyed it immensely. If you are at all interested in the issues of sustainable local eating, I cannot urge you strongly enough to see the film.

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