Harvest dinner, film celebrate regenerative farming

BRATTLEBORO — On Wednesday, Oct. 12, from 6 to 10 p.m., the downtown arts venue Epsilon Spires continues its Food System Series of film screenings and pop-up dinners presented in partnership with the local organic microgreen farm Grateful Greens.

This installment features a four-course dinner of regional, sustainably produced ingredients by the Brattleboro-based caterer Forage & Flourish, followed by a showing of the 2020 documentary Kiss the Ground.

“My vision for this series is to bring awareness to what is going on in our food systems and to stimulate discussion, connection, and action towards a more prosperous and healthy future for all,” James Mayer of Grateful Greens said in a news release.

His choice of film explores how regenerative farming practices enrich the soil and can reduce the carbon in our atmosphere, because “our soil is losing its vitality, health, and nutrients at an astonishingly fast rate. I hope that this film will help people realize the important role of soil and inspire us to help save it in ways that are realistic for each of us to achieve.”

Kiss the Ground is narrated by Woody Harrelson and features cameos by celebrity climate activists such as Rosario Dawson, Patricia Arquette, and Gisele Bündchen. The New York Times describes the film as “a persuasive and optimistic plan to counter the climate crisis” that is “elevated by stirring imagery” and “inspires a rare feeling of hope.”

Odell Bouchard, owner of Forage & Flourish, says that Kiss the Ground “lays out the science behind the importance of restoring the Earth's soil in a way that is highly accessible and engaging. The film has the power to educate, inspire, and entertain an audience from a wide range of viewpoints.”

The four-course menu for the harvest dinner will feature ingredients from local producers in various sectors of sustainable agriculture, including regenerative meat and fruit, urban indoor farms, and organic farms with a focus on regionally appropriate crop varieties. Some of the farmers will also be in attendance at the event.

“I love exploring how food can be more delicious, nutritious, and satisfying by incorporating traditional cooking methods like sourdough and lacto-fermentation and ingredients that honor and make use of the whole animal or plant, such as bone marrow and wild edible plants,” says Bouchard. She adds that she enjoys “using locally seasonal ingredients to highlight the energy and freshness that each season brings.”

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