West Michigan Environmental Action Council and Nourish Organic Market will present Dirt! The Movie and an exposition on community gardening and agriculture at Wealthy Theatre on Wednesday, March 7, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. The film will screen at 7 p.m. with a panel presentation to follow.
DIRT! The Movie, directed and produced by Bill Benenson and Gene Rosow, takes viewers inside the wonders of soil. It tells the story of Earth’s most valuable and underappreciated source of fertility, from its miraculous beginning to its crippling degradation. Narrated by Jaime Lee Curtis, Dirt! brings to life the environmental, economic, social and political impact that the soil has. It shares the stories of experts from all over the world who study and are able to harness the beauty and power of a respectful and mutually beneficial relationship with soil.
“It’s becoming increasingly important to not only understand the environmental issues that impact us locally but to connect community members with initiatives working to reduce that impact,” said Jen Shaneberger, chair of the WMEAC Events Committee which organized the series. “This is why WMEAC has linked an environmental documentary with a program that we support like energy efficiency, stormwater and community gardens.”
Panelists for the event include Christine Helms-Maletic of the Fulton Street Farmers’ Market, Todd Aschenbach, a Grand Valley State University soil scientist and restoration ecologist, Aaron Snipp, a farmer at the Blandford Nature Center CSA, and Luke Melski co-owner of Reformation Growers.
A Community Gardening and Agriculture Expo will be held in the lobby of the theatre before the film. Exhibitors and garden representatives include Barefoot Victory Garden, Kentwood Community Garden, the SECA Garden, Rogers Community Garden, Nourish Organic Market, SECA Garden, and Slow Food of West Michigan. Film entry is not required to visit the exhibition, which will include demonstrations on home composting worm systems, community gardens, locally sourced food stores and related topics.
The series is also presented in partnership with the Wealthy Theatre Centennial Capital Campaign, an effort to reduce the facility’s carbon footprint and enhance existing technologies, ensuring its sustainability for decades to come. Sponsors include Nourish Organic Market and Fieldstone Garden Company.
“Nourish Organic Market exists to support the growing and eating of healthy food. Health, even life itself, is completely contingent upon the existence of healthy soil,” said Sheri Rop, co-owner of Nourish Organic Market. “So supporting a film like Dirt!, which highlights our utter dependence on and responsibility for this fragile substance seems like an important contribution to helping us all do a better job of protecting what Wendell Berry called ‘the great connector of our lives, the source and destination of all.’”
A $5 donation is suggested for film entry. Doors open at 6:30 pm.